Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

Description and Evaluation of the Information Literacy Program in a Private School in Lebanon: A Case Study

Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

Description and Evaluation of the Information Literacy Program in a Private School in Lebanon: A Case Study

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to describe the information literacy program offered through the library of a private elementary school in Beirut, to evaluate its effectiveness, and to formulate recommendations for improving library programs in similar schools. This was done through examining the components of the school library and the perceptions of librarians, teachers, students and parents related to the role of the school library. Study participants consisted of all students and teachers of second and fourth grades, 18 parents, and the librarian and assistant librarian. Data was collected through teacher questionnaires, semi-structured interviews with the librarian and assistant librarian, phone interviews with parents, and observations of student to librarian and teacher to librarian interactions during library class sessions. Results of the study showed the role of the school library in developing students' information literacy skills and in motivating students to read. The librarian's instruction as well as her positive attitudes towards students enhanced lessons and helped students learn information literacy skills. However, results from the observation sessions showed little interaction between teachers and librarian. Parents' interviews revealed that most parents were not aware of the library program at their children's school.

Introduction

There is a general agreement in the school library literature that the purpose of a school library program is to help students become information literate lifelong learners by teaching them effective and responsible use of information in all formats. The school library is seen as a focal resource of a school curriculum; it provides not only books and other resources, but also instruction and activities that support classroom learning. Developing information literacy has, indeed, become the heart of the school library's functions. Information literacy is the ability to identify which information is needed and when it is needed; it is also the ability to locate, evaluate and use information for a purpose (American Association of School Librarians and Association for Educational Communications and Technology [AASL/AECT], 1998). Information literacy is considered essential "to the pursuit of lifelong learning, and central to achieving both personal and economic development" (Bruce, 2002, p. 1).

This paper describes and evaluates the information literacy program implemented through the library of a private elementary school in Beirut. To our knowledge, there have been no similar studies conducted in the Lebanese context about information literacy programs in elementary school libraries. This case study is intended to provide insight into the implementation and practice of such information literacy programs.

Background and Framework

The information literacy program in the school's library is guided by the standards set forth in Information Power by the American Association of School Librarians and Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AASL/AECT, 1998). According to Information Power, the school library program should be focused on improving teaching and learning by providing information literacy programs characterized by authentic student learning and aiming at creating a community of learners. Effectiveness of these programs requires "collaboration, leadership, and technology" (AASL/AECT, 1998, p. 47), that is, leadership and commitment by school administration, budgets that promote wide use of technology, teachers willing to make effective use of the library and collaborate with the librarians, and efforts by the librarians to enhance, enact and reinforce the above and to link their role to the school curriculum. The school library program should reflect the school's mission and goals for student achievement and ensure that students and teachers are "effective users of ideas and information" (AASL/AECT, 1998, p. 6), and that the program is "dynamic, enthusiastic and student centered" (p. …

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