January was a busy month in terms of catching up from the holidays and also because several of us attended the ALA Midwinter Meeting in New Orleans from January 9-14, 1998. William Gordon was appointed the next Executive Director of ALA. In addition to the many exhibits and meetings, ALA’s President, Barbara Ford, presided over a variety of international activities including her program on "Extending our Global Reach: Libraries in the Information Society" featuring Robert Wedgeworth, past President of IFLA and University Librarian at the University of Illinois, as well as speakers from Jamaica, the Czech Republic, and India. I was very involved in chairing three international activities and preparing the international program for the 1998 ALA Washington Conference in June. New Orleans, of course, is a colorful and exciting city in which to have a conference and participants were busy exploring city life when not attending meetings.

January Happenings

The University Librarian appointed the following team leaders January 15:

  • Mildred Franks – Information Delivery Team
  • Tyler Goldberg – Content Access Team
  • Rae Helton – Information Literacy Team
  • Melissa Laning – Assessment and Resource Planning Team
  • Judith Niles – Selection Team

Candidates for the position of Systems Director/ Technology Team Leader were interviewed.

U of L’s Department of Public Safety completed and submitted its security audit report for Ekstrom Library. The University Librarian requested this audit in March 1997, and is now reviewing the findings.

The Strategic Planning Process for Academic Units began. ACT (Administrative Coordinating Team, now consisting of Heads of Libraries and Team Leaders) received and reviewed the Enabling Plans from the Vice Presidents. The Unit Plans, covering 1998-2004, will be finalized by the beginning of March and will incorporate the Libraries 1997-98 Operating Plan. Details are available from members of ACT.

Below is a summary of a conference at which I recently gave a paper.

Information Literacy: The Professional Issue

On December 8 and 9, 1997 the University of South Australia Library in association with the Australian Library and Information Association Information Literacy Task Force sponsored the Third National Australian Conference on Information Literacy at the Canberra Institute of Technology in Canberra, Australia. The conference dealt with information literacy in the professions and featured keynote speakers who addressed information literacy in the context of various types of learning.

  • Information Literacy – the Key Competency for Professional Practice and Lifelong Learning in the 21st Century
    Mark Latham, Federal Shadow Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, addressed information literacy as the foundation of skills and knowledge required for lifelong learners in professions and industry.
  • Repairing the Plane in Flight: Developing Information Literacy in Professional Practice
    Professor Philip Candy, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Ballarat, discussed this topic in detail.
  • Information Literacy and the Workplace
    Christine Bruce, Lecturer at the School of Information Science, Queensland University of Technology, talked about her research regarding information literacy in the work place.
  • Technology Convergence and Information Literacy
    Barbara Lepani, Executive Director, Australian Center for Innovation and International Competitiveness, University of Sydney, discussed her research to assist individuals and organizations to develop learning strategies to meet the opportunities and challenges arising from social and technological change.

    Another panel addressed information literacy and the professions from the international perspective. Speakers on the panel were:

    • Hannelore B. Rader, who discussed information skills in terms of business and industry needs, professional needs, and accrediting mandates within the United States;
    • Celia Walter from South Africa, who spoke about the difficult realities in education in South Africa after apartheid;
    • Elizabeth Jones from New Zealand, who spoke about the need for better development of information skills in the country and the fact that the country’s Curriculum Framework required eight essential skills including information skills; and
    • Bonnie Cheuk from Singapore, who discussed her research on information use in the workplace where she is studying members of the Internal Auditors profession in terms of their need for and use of information skills.

This successful conference was most enlightening in an area of information literacy not yet well explored – the professions. It was apparent that the issues facing librarians regarding information literacy are global and should be shared for future success.

A new publication was introduced during the Conference, which Hannelore acquired for the Libraries' collection: Christine Bruce. The Seven Faces of Information Literacy. Adelaide, Australia: Auslib Press, 1997 (Z 711.2 .B78 1997).

--Hannelore Rader, University Librarian