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JMU's Library Instruction Selected as Model Program

by Lynn Cameron, Coordinator of Library Instruction

The JMU Library Instruction Program was chosen last year as one of ten programs nationwide exemplifying best practices in information literacy programming for undergraduates.  The Institute for Information Literacy, an initiative of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, developed best practices criteria used to make the selections.  Evaluators looked particularly for evidence of collaboration among various campus constituencies.  The Instruction Program at JMU was praised for integration of information literacy skills with the General Education curriculum and for its competency-based assessment program for first-year students.    All first-year students complete Go for the Gold, an online instruction program, to learn basic information-seeking skills.  These skills are strengthened through course-related assignments that require students to find and evaluate information.  Freshmen must pass the online Information-Seeking Skills Test by the end of their first year in order to continue at the University.

A team of instruction program collaborators from each of the ten model institutions attended an invitational conference in Atlanta on June 11-13, 2002, to refine the characteristics of best practices of information literacy programs and to begin to develop in-depth descriptions of model programs.  These descriptions will be a resource for librarians, faculty members, and administrators involved in information literacy instruction.  The team from JMU consisted of Rebecca Feind, English Liaison Librarian, Lynn Cameron, Coordinator of Library Instruction, Violet Allain, Acting Dean of General Education, and Harry Reif, Assistant Professor of  CIS.  Kathy Clarke, Business Librarian, was also a team member, but was unable to attend the conference.

    The Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices were published in their final form in the January 2003 C&RL News, Vol. 64 No. 1 and online on ACRL's web site.


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