Librarians Bring Information Literacy to Local Schools
Holy Name of Jesus and McGehee students learn key research skills
This winter, Monroe Library’s faculty leadership collaborated with local schools to bring information literacy skills to the primary and secondary school classroom. Between December and March, Interim Dean Laurie Phillips and Interim Associate Dean Jason Ezell visited Holy Name of Jesus and the Louise S. McGehee School to help prepare their students to engage in a world of information that is becoming more complex by the day.
The seventh graders at Holy Name of Jesus got a double dose of library skills training. Beginning with learning how to find scholarly sources online, students worked with Laurie Phillips to understand the importance of research techniques such as filtering search results and reading for bias. Hunter Hughes, the seventh grade students' ELA teacher, was thrilled to see her students learning basic yet sophisticated information seeking behaviors. She notes, “Laurie showed them how to narrow and refine their searches, something I didn't even know how to do, and it was incredibly helpful!” Following up several weeks later, Jason Ezell taught students about the different kinds of sources in the scholarly communications landscape. Students also engaged in some active learning to help them understand how to use those sources. “The kids loved how interactive the lesson was and how approachable Jason was!” Hughes attested.
In February, Dr. Ezell worked with the high schoolers at McGehee to help them begin a major history research project. Erin Fallon, who teaches high school history at McGehee, was emphatic about the role library research instruction plays in preparing her students for college-level academic work. She says, “many of our graduates reflect positively on the experience, often reporting that they have a leg up as researchers when compared to their university classmates.” In particular, the students learned how to search for and use both primary and secondary sources using electronic databases. In their session, Dr. Ezell noticed that "the students were engaged. Even at these young ages, they have fascinating research questions, so it was exciting to put them in touch with reliable sources by journalists and researchers who share those same interests." Fallon's observations further affirm the value of library instruction: “It has set them on a path for success in college.”