Information Literacy In Unusual Times

Library instruction incorporates new approaches to searching and a deeper understanding of how information is organized

     Information literacy – or the ability to effectively locate, explore, and use information – is a cornerstone of the work that Cheng librarians do to support students' success at William Paterson.  During the previous year, librarians taught nearly 300 sessions for courses across campus and at all levels.  These sessions did more than show students how to find books or use a database; instead, the focus shifted to introducing new approaches to searching and a deeper understanding of how information is organized.  They provided students with skills to be successful in their courses and beyond.
And then the world changed.
     In March 2020, the university responded to the pandemic by moving classes and student support entirely online. The Library didn't miss a beat; immediately transitioning research consultations to our chat reference service, identifying alternatives to print materials for faculty, and shifting information literacy instruction (also known as library instruction) fully online!  As librarians and educators, we have a history of exploring new technologies and offering virtual instruction.  The Library elevated these efforts through a summer 2020 training program, which prepared all librarians to teach in Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate.
We returned to campus in the fall, although many courses continued in an online or hybrid/Hy-Flex mode.  We were pleased to see how many faculty colleagues reached out, demonstrating their commitment to information literacy.  With sessions provided to students of all levels, across all five colleges, and local schools, the majority took place synchronously online with Zoom as the preferred platform.  So far, the feedback from students and instructors has been glowing.
     The Library understands the challenges presented by shortened semesters and new methods of teaching and learning. Our mission outlines our goal to contribute to the success of the university's educational and co-curricular programs. As we advance our collective efforts, we are excited to continue offering virtual instruction as an added option, especially with the recent rollout of WP Online. With a successful fall 2020 under our belts, we look forward to seeing you all again – virtually or otherwise!

February 10, 2021