Creating the Information Literate Warrior: Step 6 to Information Literacy

So you are working on your regular assignments when, all of a sudden, you are swamped with customers needing information. What are you to do? You follow the traditional Reference Interview questions. Somehow, that does not seem to be enough. Now what? Perhaps, we could go back in time. Humor me, okay? Let’s concentrate on methods for developing needed tools for kids’ study through demonstrations to show them how to find the information on their own. No, it does not take our jobs away. It enhances our jobs. Follow me to giving birth to the Information Literate Warrior.

Children everywhere need sound training in the areas of reading, writing, and maths, but the training needs to be given in creative and interesting ways so that the children will want to learn. Some people may think that it is impossible to plan innovative programs with a small amount of money, but there are vast resources available from existing materials at little or no expense. Although most parents have talked to, traveled with, and tinkered around their young kids, they have not stopped to formalize these three T’s into a teaching method. This method is needed because children spend such a large proportion of their time in the home or around parents. Here the formalized Three T’s method becomes an informal way to enhance any formal educational system.

If we could help our adult customers as children, we could create a supplemental home-based educational program to build-up their key cognitive strategies and higher-order thinking. In developing this program, information professionals and care-givers could outline how their every-day interaction with their kids can help prepare them for real-world experiences in life and higher education.

We do it every day with our kids:

  1. Parents talk to their kids and try to make them learn new words and concepts.
  2. Parents buy and play with toys to encourage their young children to tinker.
  3. Parents travel with their kids through parks and pointing out flowers and squirrels.

Now, expand upon that. In our Reference Interviews, we:

  1. Talk to our customers to find out what specific information they need.
  2. Help our customers tinker (perform search requests, place items on hold, review what items they or the library has checked out) through our OPACs.
  3. Show them where the items can be found in the library or other places by traveling to that location in the physical or virtual forms of the library collection.
  4. Talk to our customers by asking, “Does that completely answer your question?”

Although most information professionals have talked to, traveled with, and tinkered around their customers, they have not stopped to formalize these Three T’s into a Reference Interview method.

This is echoed in my course, Getting Parents and their Kids.

You have just witnessed the birthing process to creating the Information Literate Warrior. Stay tuned to see the crowning of the Information Literate Warrior. They are not quite ready yet.

Editor’s Note – this article first published in Computer Savviness – and republished with the author’s permission.

Posted in: Internet Resources, Internet Resources - Web Links, Internet Trends, Libraries & Librarians, Reference Services