National Library Week is being celebrated this week, from April 10-16th. This year’s theme is “Libraries transform.” Libraries, and the knowledge and people within them, have the potential to transform people’s lives in many different ways. At Touro College Libraries, we strive to play a part in our students transformations into successful college graduates. We provide information, assistance, and a comfortable place to study, but it’s our instructional services that are at the heart of our education efforts.
Touro College Libraries have been assisting students and faculty in their research efforts since inception. Our library instruction program continues to develop and grow as Touro College updates existing academic programs and adds new subjects and disciplines. With the goal of fostering good research practices and helping students develop critical thinking skills, the libraries support student research and education in many subject areas. This requires a good, strong foundation of library research concepts as well as the flexibility to adapt Information Literacy pedagogy to any discipline.
Touro College Librarians go the extra mile in working with faculty by including subject-specific examples in their respective information literacy classes. In both formal hands-on classes and informally in our reference interactions, librarians successfully interpret the research request of each class or student while simultaneously assessing the current level of knowledge. An interesting component of the Touro College Libraries Information Literacy Program is the ability of librarians to incorporate professional and personal areas of expertise into their classroom interactions to make the material more relevant to the students. This is evident in the wide range of subjects covered by the Information Literacy program and the positive feedback received from students who have been able to learn research techniques and apply these techniques to their academic and career endeavors.
While all Touro Libraries teach library research to support General Education subjects such as college writing, speech, history, and psychology, we also have “specialty areas” of expertise based on programs taught at each location. At the Bay Shore Library we assist health sciences students by teaching medical research methods and literature reviews for the physician assistant, occupational therapy, and physical therapy programs. Our librarians also teach research for The Graduate Schools of Education and Psychology in areas of educational pedagogy, psychology concepts, early childhood education and special education.
The librarians working for the Lander College for Women teach academic research across interdisciplinary studies, but also have a healthy number of library research classes with a primary focus on Judaica and religious studies teaching students to use the Bar Ilan database.
At the Graduate School of Business in lower Manhattan, library classes are taught to support the MBA program and research on topics such as management theory, organizational practices or behaviors, and managerial economics. The library locations in Manhattan, Kings Highway, Bay Shore and Forest Hills support programs in the Graduate School of Education teaching information literacy for students of special education, mathematics education, instructional technology, literacy and school leadership.
The Midtown librarians not only teach many general education library instruction classes, but also teach research tools such as Mendeley and RefWorks to both students and faculty. Information Literacy instruction classes at the Midwood library cover many sessions for college writing and composition, but also classes in fiction and multicultural literature. The Graduate School of Jewish Studies offers Jewish history and education programs at the Lander College for Men, and their information literacy program supports research in medieval and modern Jewish history.
In our flexible teaching efforts we employ use of both print and online resources and incorporate specialty tools and video collections to demonstrate the depth and breadth of Touro College Library research resources. As of February 2016, Touro College Libraries have taught 228 formal library classes to 2640 students and faculty for this current academic year. Teaching Information Literacy classes requires talent, stamina, and an array of special skills to be able to stand up in front of a class and bring our library expertise to the subject knowledgeof the course. Let’s continue our positive trajectory in teaching students to effectively research, and foster academic success. Touro College Librarians, Teach On!
Contributed by: Theresa Zahor, Assistant Librarian, Bay Shore