HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OFINFORMATION LITERACY Presented by: Mary Jesette E. Penaojas Presented to: Mrs Sheryl C. Farquerabao
Just as the development of libraries and theinformation industry are tied tohistorical, social, and economic developments insociety, so is the history of teaching people aboutinformation. It will show how general socialdevelopments, particularly in the United States leadto corresponding developments in education, libraryservices, the information industry, and both thebibliographic instruction and the information literacyinstruction movements, especially in academiclibraries and school library media centers.
Western history can be divided into three periods,the agricultural, pre-industrial, and pre-modernperiod of the first wave; the industrial and modernperiod of the second wave, and the currentinformation-based, post-industrial, post-modernperiod of the third wave.
Pre-industrial societies existed everywhere untilroughly 1760. Arnold Toynebee coined the term“Industrial Revolution” to describe economicdevelopments in England in the period 1760-1840.The second wave, modern, industrial society wasvery slow in coming.
Libraries were rarer than schools and were alsofor the elite, for the most part. Collections ofbooks and manuscripts could be found atmonasteries, universities, and private homes ofthe affluent.Most librarians at that time were monks,professors, teachers, and other interested peoplewho would maintain collections, either in additionto other duties, or as an avocation.The closest thing to public libraries weresubscription
libraries organized in England, in other English-speaking countries, and in the U.S. (mostly onthe eastern seaboard).People had to subscribe and pay, in order to usethese libraries.There is some evidence that some informationinstruction activities occurred in Germanuniversities in the 1700s, but this type ofactivity would have been extremely rare, at thattime for all of the reasons described above.
State universities for “the masses” wereestablished during this time of industrializationas land-grant colleges and normal schools Land-grant colleges were founded to trainfarmers and these colleges and universities lateradded business, engineering, liberal arts, andother programs.Research, teaching, and service, includingcommunity outreach have always been importantpurposes of these institutions.Some land-grant colleges would become the“flagship” for state – supported colleges in their states.
Normal schools and teachers’ colleges wereestablished to train public school teachers. Anumber of them would later evolve into generalregional state colleges and universities.
While the U.S. was industrializing at a rapidpace between the Civil War and World War I,and extending secondary and college education tothe masses in the form of high schools, landgrant colleges, and normal schools, modern U.S. libraries also rapidly developed, In 1876 alone,the American Library Association (ALA) wascreated by Melvil Dewey, Justin Winsor, andWilliam Frederick Poole, Library Journal was firstpublished , and Samuel Green’s pivotal article onreference services was published in one of thefirst issues of this journal. In addition, Deweyalso published his Dewey Decimal Classification,that year.
While the first public libraries supported by taxesand free to the public would start in Boston and NewHampshire in the mid-nineteenth century, more publiclibraries would be created during the late nineteenthand early twentieth centuries, first in the northeastand midwest, and later in the south westPublic libraries also created both reference servicesand children’s services during this timeAs this was happening libraries were first trainedlocally as apprentices
As the modern industrialized period was a masssociety built upon standards, schools,universities, and libraries all became verybureaucratic institutions,Libraries, in particular were centralized andhierarchical.They trained and hired professional librariansto provide new reference services from acentralized desk.As the main source of information for a masssociety, libraries had standardized collections asa result of the development of Wilson catalogsand several other lists and review media.
They had standard classification with the useof the Dewey Decimal and Library of CongressClassification Systems, and standard catalogingwith the creation and use of cataloging rules.
However, instruction in the use of information was slowto develop until the late twentieth century.A number of universities offered courses on library usein the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.These courses combined the history of books andlibraries with basic library research strategies andthe critical evaluation of materials.
However, in the early twentieth century, thequantity and quality of these courses declined.Full courses on evaluating library materialschanged to more shallow instruction on libraryresearch techniques.By the 1920s, any kind of library instructionwas rare.
There would be developments in the yearsbetween 1920-1960 that would be important toboth the history and the future of teaching aboutinformation, but these developments had littleeffect on most libraries, at that time.Most of this period is regarded as a relativelystagnant one for teaching in higher education.
B. Lamar Johnson organized an instruction program atStephens College, a small Missouri women’scollege in the years 1931-1950. Heprefigured the bibliographic instructionmovement of the 1970s and 1980s byoffering orientations, instruction in the useof basic reference tools, point-of-useinstruction, individualizedinstruction, course-related instruction, andfull courses.
Louis Shores Louis Shores’ “library college” idea didnot begin or end with him. He believed thatlibraries should be the center of colleges, thatstudents should be educated by doingindependent studies in libraries, and that theprofessors should be “librarian-teachers”.Some of these ideas go all the way back toDewey and Winsor, and they would alsodirectly influence people and programs in the1960s.
The Bibliographic Instruction (BI)Movement in Academic Libraries: 1960-1989
Most of the 1960s would not be much livelier inthe development of instructional services forcollege students than the decades preceding it. However, there were two programs influenced byShores’ “library college” concept, that would bemajor catalysts to the development of a full-scalebibliographic instruction movement in academiclibraries in the 1970s.
The BI movement of the 1970s was a “bottom-up” grass-roots movement lead by young and newlibrarians with little or no power in their owninstitutions.Hardesty and Tucker (37) also mention youngfaculty with Ph.Ds unable to get teachingpositions or to get tenure during the difficultearly 1970s.A number of them also became librarians, withstrong backgrounds in their original fields, whoreally wanted to teach. In any case, younglibrarians trying to start instructional programsin information use had to convince their oftenskeptical bosses and administrators, first.This would prove to be an “up-hill battle”.
From the Second Wave to the Third: 1945-1981and Beyond
Just as the movement from a pre-modern,agricultural, first wave society to a modernindustrial society lead to the birth of modernU.S. twentieth century libraries, and just asthe social ferment of the 1960s lead to theestablishment of the bibliographic instructionmovement, another major paradigm shift andanother generational shift would lead to theinformation literacy movement. Between 1945-1981, the U.S.A. was gradually changing from amodern industrial society to a post-moderninformation-based one.
Computers were doing for the country and to thecountry what automobiles and highways had earlierdone.While automobiles redrew our physical landscape,affecting where people lived, worked, shopped,etc. computers did the same thing to us, mentally.The implications of this for education, libraryservices, and teaching about information havebeen staggering, and sometimes, shattering.Everything about these fields is now beingquestioned.
Libraries have been automating and using technologyfor decades, but many things have suddenly changed.At first, libraries would use a new technology, likethe Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)’scataloging system to do old, traditional jobs quickerand better.Then they would use this new technology to do newtasks. In the case of OCLC, they used thedatabases to do Interlibrary Loan and to answerreference questions.
But now, new technologies, like the Internet arecompletely redesigning the nature and purpose ofwork.This represents a the U.S. one hundred yearsago! Libraries are also now competing with anaggressive information industry and their survival isno longer assured.Librarians must figure out where they fit in thenear and far future and then be proactive. Everything about modern twentieth centurylibrarianship is being questioned at this time.majorparadigm shift comparable to the industrializationin
The shift from printed information toelectronic information has changed collectiondevelopment policies and methods, referenceservices, and modes of instruction.In the case of collection development, aboasting twentieth century librarian may havesaid to a colleague from another library, “Mycollection is bigger than yours!” Now she wouldbe more likely to say, “My library is moreconnected than yours!”In addition, hierarchies have been flattened inmany libraries, with librarians now operating inteams.There is also a blurring of distinction betweenparaprofessionals and professionals andlibrarians and technical people.
From Bibliographic Instruction toInformation Literacy: 1980 –
In some ways, information literacy continues andeven completes library or bibliographic instruction.In other ways, it represents a different direction.Both movements exist to teach people how to findinformation.Practitioners in both movements are concernedwith core competencies of informationusers, learning theories, conceptualframeworks, active learning, and critical thinking.Practitioners of both approaches use a varietyof direct and indirect teaching methods. A numberof librarians have personally made the shift fromone movement to another.
In some ways, information literacy completes andfulfills the potential and work of bibliographicinstruction.It has more of a theoretical base, it promoteslife-long learning, it deals with informationwherever it is, and it emphasizes determininginformation needs andevaluating and using information as well as findingit.While traditional BI was somewhat book andlibrary-based, information literacy is tied moreto electronic information and computers.
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