The fall semester is keeping us all very busy. Close to 10,000 persons used the Metropolitan College Computer Lab and all services were very much in demand. We are preparing a progress report for 1998-99 and will share highlight next month.
The KCVL (Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual Library) has signed database agreements with Ebsco and OCLC. More than 200 students are enrolled in pilot courses and they are beginning to let us know what type of services and document delivery will be needed for next semester when more than 1,000 students are expected to enroll in KCVU courses.
Fundraising Workshop in Berlin
I attended a fundraising workshop in Berlin, Germany, held at the Free University of Berlin on September 17, 1999. It is important to note that German librarians (like librarians in many other countries) have not had to raise funds since their respective governments usually paid for all education and library services. However, this is changing now and German librarians in all types of libraries are beginning to do fundraising. The workshop, conducted in German, dealt with fundraising techniques and how to learn from others. About 50 librarians representing all parts of Germany and many types of libraries, attended.
My presentation, "Fundraising in Academic Libraries: the U.S. Experience," started the workshop and discussion. Participants were impressed with the fundraising experiences and successes in academic libraries in the U.S. They were very interested in the variety of fundraising methods being used and the creative approaches to raising money for libraries. Some of the libraries in Germany have actually begun to raise some money, but compared to the U.S. experience they are only at the very beginning. However, here we have had many years of experience in fundraising, especially in private institutions, and those examples were most inspiring to German librarians.
Fundraising for U.S. academic libraries continues to become increasingly to ensure our future success. Libraries need funding for print and electronic information, technology, staff and staff development, and facilities. It is significant to note that since 1993 fundraising has increased 228%.
Information Literacy Conference in Mexico
I also attended the Second National Conference on Information Literacy: User Instruction and New Educational Models. Approximately 50 participants from throughout Mexico attended the conference, held at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ).
Two keynote speakers from the U.S. addressed information literacy. I presented "Preparing for the 21st Century: Educating Students and Citizens for Effective Use of Information." I discussed educational needs for the 21st century especially in terms of information skills, and defined information literacy in terms of information competency standards for higher education. I outlined the higher education environment and curriculum reform opportunities for academic librarians to integrate information literacy into the curriculum.
Betsy Wilson from the University of Washington addressed "Information Literacy: Fluency across the Community." She explained that students must have sophisticated information and technology skills to function effectively in the future knowledge-based environment. She explained that many educators must collaborate to ensure that students become information and technology literate and she presented several best practices of information fluency across and beyond a particular institution.
Sixteen librarians from public and private colleges throughout Mexico discussed applications and practices related to information literacy in a variety of academic settings.
An electronic brainstorming session was conducted after the presentations each day, resulting in a draft statement, "The Role of Librarians in the Developing Educational Models for Learning." This document will be shared with Mexican librarians.
The Conference, conducted in Spanish, was one of the most successful ones I have ever attended in terms of organization, content and especially, outcomes. Information content, technology, media, and handouts were well balanced. The Conference facilitated information sharing between librarians from the U.S. and Mexico in the areas of library services and the changing role of academic librarians as they prepare for the new millennium. It became obvious that Mexican librarians are very concerned about information literacy and that there are numerous programs in academic institutions already in place to teach students information skills.
Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua is located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. It has approximately 1.5 million inhabitants in a valley close to the Sierra of Juárez mountain range and was first explored in 1581 by the Spanish. New hotels, fine restaurants, malls, entertainment centers, museums and historical sites make this city a good place to reside.
UACJ has approximately 10,000 students, 8,500 undergraduates and 1,500 graduates. The University offers a wide range of programs, including doctoral programs, and shares information and students with the University of Texas, El Paso.
UACJ has libraries in two locations that contain 120,000 volumes and offer access to a variety of electronic databases. The libraries have been totally renovated and updated in the last two years and are technologically on the cutting edge. There is a wonderful welcoming atmosphere in the libraries and many excellent services and electronic information access points are provided. Jesus Lau, the Academic Vice President is also responsible for the libraries, administered by Jesus Cortes. The library staff is comprised of 65 staff including 9 librarians. This is somewhat unusual because most academic libraries in Mexico have fewer librarians. There are only 2,700 librarians for more than 10,000 libraries in the whole country. Only a small percentage of the librarians have a master's degree in library science, although many have an undergraduate degree in library science.
--Hannelore Rader, University Librarian