Tag Archives: public libraries

Update on the Welsh Information Literacy Project

Update from Siona Murray, Welsh Information Literacy Project Officer.

This article is intended to provide an update on the Welsh Information Literacy Project (WILP)activities over the past year and highlight the objectives for 2013-2014. Phase IV of the project was awarded to the North Wales Library Partnership (NWLP) and Coleg Llandrillo Library in April 2014. The main aims and objectives of this next phase include:
• Facilitate the embedding of information literacy (IL) activities and skills in public libraries and schools, with the addition of extending support to end users.
• Supporting local authorities and selected schools to run pilot projects incorporating information literacy frameworks.
• Extending the case study and shared resource database to support other groups to incorporate information literacy activities into teaching pedagogies.
• Establish a network of FE and HE information literacy champions through a collaborative community of practice (CoP).
• Inform the development of Hŵb, specifically in terms of developing information literacy content for the all Wales Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
• Develop a sustainable exit strategy for the project and associated activities.

To see a more comprehensive reflection on Phase III and the planned activities for Phase IV, please see our recent guest blog post hosted by WHELF.

WILP at Umbrella 2013. Image courtesy of @KrisWJ via Twitter

Over the past few months, our project officers have been gathering evidence of the pilot activities from schools and public libraries involved in Phase III. Project officers have been working with Ysgol Uwchradd Caerbybi in North Wales and Llanishen School in South Wales specifically. Full findings will be available later this summer; however we can report that initial findings are very positive. IL activities in Ysgol Uwchradd Caerbybi indicate that 69% of the students involved in the pilot support group displayed an increase in their Standardised Literacy Scores (SAS) of 4.4 points on average. This is a significant positive result, with one member of the group increasing their SAS by 8 points. You can read more about the pilot in CyMAL magazine here. The project will be establishing contacts with additional schools for Phase IV and we plan to have at least 10 schools actively involved in embedding IL activities within the curriculum during this phase. There is a real interest from schools in providing accredited IL training for learners through the Agored Cymru qualifications. However there are some issues with internal/external verification responsibilities and costs which are proving to be a challenge to schools accessing the qualifications. Building links with teacher training departments throughout Wales will also be a feature of the project for Phase IV.

Project officers have been facilitating public library IL champions in Monmouthshire and Merthyr Tydfil to complete the Level 3 Agored Cymru qualifications.

‘Happy Faces’ Feedback. Image from Abergele Library IL Event

Library staff will be supported in these local authorities to complete Agored Cymru Level 2 in Phase IV. The project team have also been facilitating library staff in Gwynedd to complete the Agored qualification through the medium of Welsh. We will continue to support the roll out of the accredited units as the public library libraries involved explore further how to facilitate IL support with their users. Project officers also recent supported a schools IL activity day based in Abergele public library and are keen to facilitate further cross over events such as this. The project team are also currently organising an IL best practice sharing day in South Wales on the 1st August in Cardiff Central Library. Details can be found here. The project team will be developing a draft sustainability plan and exit strategy over the coming months which will be presented to the Steering group in September 2013. Please contact wilp@gllm.ac.uk to book your place at the best practice sharing day or to get in touch if you would like to know more about the project. You can also contact us on twitter @welsh_info_lit.

Guest Blog Post by Síona Murray – WILP Project Officer

Facilitating and supporting Information Literacy (IL) activities and training for Public Library staff and users is one of the main themes for the Welsh Information Literacy Project (WILP) in Phase III. You can find out more about the previous project Phases here, including the development of an IL Framework for Wales and accredited training units with Agored Cymru. If you want to know even more and see case studies of IL activities in Wales, take a look at the WILP webpages.

The project wanted to address IL skills development in Public Libraries in two ways – both as a tool for continuing professional development (CPD) to up-skill library staff and also to facilitate ways in which libraries can provide additional levels of support and training for users to develop their own IL skills. The scale of this approach to embedding IL skill development, support and training within the Public Library Service throughout Wales is ground-breaking in the UK, but has been influenced by previous innovative and inspiring work, including the Caerphilly Libraries ‘Gateways to Learning’ project. The success of this WILP project stream will also only be possible through collaboration and mutual support across sectors. It is also important to note that IL activities are specifically mentioned within the Welsh Public Library Standards for 2011-2014, WPLS 4 – relating to access to facilities and services:

(j) Information literacy sessions for users (formal or informal assistance to users in developing or enhancing their use of library services and facilities)

However, the project team feel that the relevance of IL skill development goes beyond this and can have a hugely positive influence on many aspects of user’s lives –

• Health and Well-being (WPLS 4, 5, 6 & 7)

• Social Care and Older People (WPLS 1, 2 & 3)

• Equality and Diversity (WPLS 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, WPLPI 2)

• Digital Inclusion (WPLS 4, WPLPI 2, 3 & 7)

• Reading and Literacy (WPLS 4, 5, 6, 8 & 9 WPLPI 6 & 7)

• Employment (WPLS 4)

• Lifelong Learning and Re-skilling (WPLS 4, 7 & 8 )

Image from IL Champion Training Day

 The first step on the journey is to recruit IL Champions and Contacts within each of the Public Library Local Authority areas in Wales – 22 in all – and to provide awareness raising sessions and a network of support for these IL Champions. The Society of Chief Librarians has been unstinting in its support for this ‘call to arms’, so much so that within three weeks of the request for Champions, 20 Local Authorities had signed up to the training days the project team had arranged. The North and South Wales sessions have been completed, with our Mid Wales session due to take place in Newtown on 9th August.

The Champions role is based on the Welsh Public Library Marketing Champions model – for more information on Public Library marketing activities as part of Libraries Inspire see Alyson Tyler’s blog post here.  Having a network of champions improves communication and implementation for project activities, as highlighted by the networks of Champions established as part of Estyn Allan, the Peoples Network, the National Literacy Trust and also within Local Government, for example. Champions are there to be -

the main point of contact, to assist in training, to encourage, enthuse and promote, to advise the project team on local issues and to contribute to IL advocacy across the country.

For Local Authorities who cannot commit to having an IL Champion, the role of an IL Contact will be a valuable aid in circulating and communicating IL updates and providing feedback from their own Local Authorities.

Image from IL Champion Training Day

The Champions training and awareness days are a mix of discussion, group work and problem solving. The project team wanted to create a structured opportunity for participants to expand their own understanding of IL and the relevance of these skills to the Public Library service, its staff and users. To take the chance to share best practice and queries with their peers, to develop ideas on how or where IL activities could be embedded in service provision and to explore the possibilities of delivering accredited IL training for staff or informal training for users. It is hoped that this will also lead on to the project team supporting a number of Public Libraries to deliver pilot scheme accredited training programmes for staff and service users. Four Local Authorities have already expressed an interest in taking part in these training pilots.

During the sessions we also take the chance to briefly review the online/digital behaviour of people in Wales – both in relation to E-Safety issues and question how this might also affect future Public Library service provision. How do libraries and their staff keep up with the pace of change and user expectations? A recurring theme which has emerged from the sessions that have taken place so far is the need to acknowledge that a significant amount of IL support is being provided by Public Library staff already – but it has not been formally identified or acknowledged as information literacy support. Identifying this support and opportunities to embed further support in everyday user activities is an important part of the awareness days.

Supporting Public Libraries to deliver IL training and embed sustainable, relevant IL skill development activities is more than just a project objective. It’s a commitment to Life Long Learning, empowerment and inclusion – for both staff and users.

You can contact the WILP team by email at wilp@gllm.ac.uk, by phone on (01492) 542342 and also through Twitter @welsh_info_lit.