Teaching Information Literacy For Inquiry-Based Learning

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  • Francisco Library, 530 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143,USA bmarcus.banks@library.ucsf.eduN.


    Antonio, TX 78212-7200, USA bmichelle.millet@trinity.eduN.


    Teaching Information Literacy For Inquiry-Based Learning, byMark Hepworth and GeoffWalton. Cambridge, UK: Chandos Publishing,2009. 253 p. $95.00. ISBN 978-1-84334-441-4.264 The Journal of Academic LibrarianshipInformation Literacy Instruction: Theory and Practice, by EstherS. Grassian and Joan R. Kaplowitz. 2nd ed. New York: Neal-SchumanPublishers, Inc., 2009. 412 p. $75.00. ISBN 978-1-55570-666-1.

    If a new librarian asked seasoned instruction librarians for someadvice on what or who to read for more background in informationliteracy instruction, the new librarian would undoubtedly hear thenames Grassian and Kaplowitz a time or two. With the new edition oftheir 2001 text, Information Literacy Instruction: Theory and Practice,Grassian and Kaplowitz have once again published a solid, thoroughmanual that will serve many groups of information literacypractitioners.

    Written in a very easy style, Information Literacy Instruction isorganized into five main parts and seventeen chapters within. Partsinclude: bInformation Literacy Instruction Background,Q bInformationLiteracy Instruction Building Blocks,Q bPlanning and DevelopingInformation Literacy Instruction,Q bDelivering Information LiteracyInstruction,Q and bThe Future of Information Literacy Instruction.Q Thecontent layout is similar to the first edition, with a few noticeabledifferences. Most recognizable is the expansion of Part II, bInformationLiteracy Instruction Building Blocks.Q Its first two chapters, three andfour of the book, include a more thorough discussion of therelationship between psychology and learning, reflecting the impor-tance of that conversation in our profession. Similarly reflectingcurrent practice, the authors incorporated a deeper emphasis onlearner centered teaching in Part IV, bDeveloping Information LiteracyInstruction.Q

    There are several strengths of this book, some obvious and someless so. First, it serves as a great overview for both experienced andnew librarians. It lays a lot of groundwork in terms of understandingthe history behind information literacy instruction, student learningtheory, design, delivery, and assessment of instruction. It does all ofthis without taking a stand on the brightQ way to do informationliteracy. To be sure, there are a lot of other good books and articlesout there on information literacy and this does not replace those oreven intend to do so. The authors carefully put together bRead MoreAbout ItQ sections at the end of each chapter that include excellentadditional reading selections. Additionally, the reviewer found thebExercisesQ included in each chapter very interesting and they couldsurely provide great discussion among information literacy librariansor could prove useful during departmental meetings or retreats.What could make this book even stronger might be a more user-friendly website to accompany the text, instead of the CD-ROM, aholdover from the first edition. Its one weakness, the lack ofdiscussion related to leadership and management of informationliteracy programs, is addressed. For that topic, the authors referreaders to their 2005 book, Learning to Lead and Manage InformationLiteracy Instruction.

    In summary, the new edition of Information Literacy Instructionwillbe a welcome addition to the professional reading shelf of anypracticing instruction librarian. As was one of its intents, it will alsoserve as a great textbook for library school graduate students studyinginformation literacy instruction.Michelle S. Millet, InformationLiteracy Coordinator, Coates Library, Trinity University, SanMark Hepworth and Geoff Walton's new book, Teaching Informa-tion Literacy for Inquiry-Based Learning is a serious attempt to helpreaders design a user-centered information literacy training (inter-vention) within the context of subject learning. To do so, the authorsdelineate a variety of learning theories and highlight the linkagebetween theory and practice. It is apparent that the authors are notonly very well versed in information literacy related research, but alsoavid practitioners of information literacy instruction. They havepacked the book with ideas and observations of their own and theseof scholars around the world. They successfully demonstrate how wecan apply theory and our understanding of users' information-seekingbehavior to foster information literacy skills, which in turn can lead toin-depth subject learning.

    The book contains thirteen chapters and is divided into threemajor parts. In the first part (chapters 16), the authors cite theoristsand research findings to describe what information and informationliteracy mean, how they relate to learning, and to explain the whysand hows of inquiry-based learning. The authors point out that thereare bdifferent vantage points from which to view learnersQ and theyuse four succeeding chapters to discuss learning through four majorframeworks: the learner as a physical being a sensory approach; thelearner as a thinker a cognitive approach; the learner as a sensemaker a constructivist approach; and the learner as a social being asocial constructivist approach. The authors adeptly compare differentlearning theories and highlight the common ground.

    The second part of the book also contains six chapters, in whichthe authors demonstrate ways to apply abstract learning theories topractice (i.e., teaching and learning intervention) that foster learners'information literacy. Chapters 812 illustrate five learning (teaching)interventions that incorporate the aspects of how people learn andthe pedagogy previously discussed in part 1. These five chapterscover key aspects of information literacy: defining information needsand identifying knowledge base that the learner wants to develop;understanding the information landscape; using information retriev-al tools and techniques to locate information; interaction with anduse of information; and enhancing information literacy in theworkplace.

    There is only one chapter in part 3. Titled bConcluding Comments,Qit is the authors' reflections of their research andwriting the book, andthe concerns that they have through years of teaching informationliteracy in higher education. One thing worth mentioning is thecomprehensive and up-to-date bibliography and resources listed atthe end of the book, which will benefit any readers interested ininformation literacy and its research.

    The authors have meticulously and successfully laid a solidtheoretical foundation for readers and have illuminated ways toapply theory to practice. This is an excellent book for new librarianswho work on information literacy instruction and for educators whowould like to foster independent learning. The concrete examples anddetailed explanation of teaching interventions are most helpful.Experienced information literacy instructors and librarians should notmiss this book either. The authors' insightful analysis and discussionprovide readers inspiration for improvement and an opportunity toreflect. For those who have been teaching for years, this is the bookthat will lead you to take a fresh new look at teaching.Irene Ke,Psychology & Social Work Librarian, M.D. Anderson Library, 114University Libraries, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-2000, USA bijke@uh.eduN.