presenting workplace literacy to public libraries

On October 1, Mary Jane and I attended the 2017 Nova Scotia Library Association/LBANS conference and gave a presentation entitled, “Libraries and 21st Century Workplace Literacy Skills: A Study of NSCC Library Services”. Our program had the highest attendance of all sessions that weekend and those who attended (mostly public library staff and board members) indicated that the information we shared about NSCC students and their workplace information needs was new to them.

We know that public libraries have a significant role in helping Nova Scotians develop effective workplace literacy skills, and over the course of this year I hope to spend some time finding out about this.

NSLA conference presentation



21st century library collection development

Library collections in the 21st century (2011, December 05). Retrieved September 27, 2017, from

Last evening, I viewed a brief video presentation by James G. Neal, VP for Information Services and University Librarian, Columbia University/OCLC Board Trustee, in which he outlined four shifts driving 21st century library collection development:

  1. Primal innovation – We have to rethink what we are and be innovative.
  2. Deconstruction – We will have to tear apart what we have and creatively reassemble it, bringing in new parts as needed. He says that it no longer makes sense to think of library collections in terms of individual libraries.
  3. Radical collaboration – Libraries can no longer stand side by side as we have been doing (so well) but WITH each other, working as one and/or in collectives to accomplish our goals.
  4. Survival – We must focus on what the user needs, looking at non-traditional measures; Are users happy with our products and services? Are they achieving their goals with our support?

For the last 50 years, the goal of the larger library community has been to develop new approaches to coordinate collection development, but we have not done that; we have not been successful in implementing shared investments in collections. And now we are at the point where we must act as a collective by selecting, acquiring, owning, synthesizing, organizing and distributing TOGETHER.

  • We force users to make hard choices by limiting their information queries to what’s on OUR shelves.
  • Sophisticated interlibrary loan isn’t enough. User expectations have shifted dramatically and limitations of time and distance shouldn’t matter anymore.
  • With the massive decline in faculty coming to post-secondary libraries, we need to deliver content and functionality to the desktop of faculty and students and to deliver information in the online environment they are mostly in, to move librarians to the point of need.

keeping my learning brain active

One thing I’ve learned about myself through my LCP is that I love to learn, and I have a desire to learn. I’ve been taking courses since I started my LCP and have enjoyed them, and this has encouraged me to make sure I’m engaged in new learning. And there are so many options available now. I can see how today’s students are able to establish their own learning paths! I’ve been taking part in a Shakespeare course offered by Cape Breton University on Facebook, and it has been very satisfying to revisit my literary background of study.

Shakespeare course, CBU, Sep_2017

student services and workplace info lit

Last week, I met with one of my mentors, Lisa, to discuss how she incorporates workplace info lit into her Student Services department and some of the results of the Student Services Aligment Project.

We discussed how the new student services model supports one of the recommendations from the Ivany Report, to bring people into the workforce who have been traditionally unable to form an attachment to the labour market. Through the Student Services Alignment Project, NSCC is attempting to ensure that the supports are in place to help students experience success in their employment readiness training so that they can begin to form these attachments and enter the labour market. Some of the new initiatives include:

  • New roles for student services staff, including identifying a specific advisor for each student.
  • The Advising piece now happens right away, to try to help students before they reach crisis points in the term.
  • Ability for students to ask for supports and accommodations they need, and to work with a counsellor to develop these supports if they aren’t sure.
  • Programs such as Achieve, which help students with life skills.
  • Incoming student survey individual follow up for students who identify they would like assistance with or more support in a specific area.
  • More support for faculty in helping students with “soft skills” — At Lisa’s campus, a series of instructional sessions have been developed which can be incorporated into the classroom:

Akerley Workplace Skills courses.1Akerley Workplace Skills courses.2

nsla presentation and lcp next steps

Last week, Mary Jane and I met to discuss our presentation at the Nova Scotia Library Assocation coming up in September, and here is our conference plan:

NSLA planning meeting Aug 2_17

Over the next couple of weeks, we will  pull together the information (most of which we already have) and create the slides.

We also planned some next steps for our LCPs. We are looking to consult with faculty and will plan to do that after September when their workload begins to settle down.

  • Getting into the classroom to develop a “People in Practice” model
  • MJ is looking at setting up drop-in editing sessions and will work with Amanda (based on her Writing Centre work)
  • Interview communications instructors about the struggles students in skilled trades seem to have with communications classes.
  • Interview faculty members in a skilled trade program about the “information literacy” skills needed in their field. (Ask questions about the types of resources used on the job, eg, email, procedures manuals, standards).
  • Find out about being involved in the development of a new information literacy plan for NSCC Library Services.


developing strong library collections

Over the past couple of months, I have been exploring ways to analyse the use of our library collections, both print and electronic. I am currently in the process of exploring a collections analysis tool, LibInsight, in which I have started loading usage statistics for e-resources. I am also working with a Novanet tool, Greenglass, which was a snapshot of our print collections taken in December of 2016. Over the next few months I’ll explore both of these tools and other reporting options so I can develop a plan for analysing our library collections to ensure we are providing what we need to.

workplace info lit

I’ve been researching workplace information literacy in preparation for our presentation at the fall 2017 NSLA Conference. Here are a few articles of note:

Bird, N. J., Crumpton, M., Ozan, M., & Williams, T. (2012). Workplace information literacy: a neglected priority for community college libraries. Journal of Business & Financial Librarianship, 17(1), 18-33. doi:10.1080/08963568.2012.630593

Crumpton, M., (2014, October). Teaching Workplace Information Literacy. Paper presented at the Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy. Retrieved from:

Forster, M. (2017). How is information literacy experienced in the workplace? In Information literacy in the workplace (pp. 11-28). London, England: Facet.

Forster, M. (2017). The ‘Workplace Experience Framework’ and evidence-based information literacy education. In Information literacy in the workplace (pp. 149-164). London, England: Facet.

Hollenbeck, Kevin. (1993). An Introduction to Workplace Literacy Programs. In Classrooms in the Workplace Workplace: Literacy Programs in Small- and Medium-Sized Firms. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, pp. 1-6.

Molopyane, J., Fourie, I. (2015) A framework for workplace information literacy in academic contexts: Central University of Technology, Free State (South Africa) as case studyLibrary Hi Tech, Vol. 33 Issue: 4, pp.562-583

Ruleman, A., Horne-Popp, L., Hallis, R. (2017, March 22-25). Show me the learning: navigating information literacy through multiple life perspectives. Paper presented at the ACRL Conference, At the Helm: Leading Transormation. Retrieved from:



I am also investigating JobJunction which is located in Halifax: