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On Thursday, June 17, a group of ZSR librarians (Bobbie Collins, Carolyn McCallum, Molly Keener, Roz Tedford, Ellen Daugman, and Mary Scanlon) attended the 5th Annual Information Literacy Conference in Charlotte. This is the third year that I have attended the Metrolina Conference, and it gets better every year!

While enjoying a quick continental breakfast, I took time to review the conference schedule and made somenotes on which breakout programs to attend during the day. As usual, this conference was well organized and provided an opportunity for participants to select from a wide-variety of excellent programs on information literacy.

The first thing on the morning agenda was the opening keynote presentation. The speaker was Dr. Clara M. Chu, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Library and Information Studies at UNCG. Her presentation focused on “Information Literacy Examined in Multicultural Context.” In her opening remarks, Dr. Chu mentioned that in 2009 President Obama proclaimed October as National Information Literacy Awareness Month:

She noted that in the President’s proclamation he stated that “Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise.” Obama’s proclamation reinforces the importance of lifelong learning and the library’s involvement in promoting information literacy activities and programs.

In 2000, Dr. Chu published an article in Reference & User Services Quarterly entitled “See, hear, and speak no evil: A content approach to evaluating multicultural multimedia materials.” During her presentation, Dr. Chu made reference to her research and discussed four components to consider when evaluating materials: objectivity/bias, language use, subject mastery, and resources. According to Chu, we live in “multicultural societies and teach in multicultural settings.” Being aware of cultural values and traditions of learners, instructors can apply culturally responsive teaching principles to the classroom.

This year it was extremely difficult to decide which of the breakout sessions to attend. One of the breakout sessions focused on students as lifelong learners. The presenter was Joe Eshleman (Johnson & Wales University). His intriguing title (“Show me the value”) immediately caught my attention and so I decided to attend this session. To stimulate the discussion, Eshleman posed several questions. For example, one question was: “What does it mean to an individual to be information literate outside of the educational context?” There was a lively exchange of ideas and opinions among the participants with many sharing some great insights.

In the afternoon, I attend Roz and Molly’s presentation on using documentary film in IL instruction and Mary Scanlon’s presentation on info-lit for business majors. All of the ZSR presenters did an excellent job, and I came away with a lot of new ideas.

It was a beautiful day to attend a conference. The facilities at Johnson and Wales provided a relaxing setting to enjoy the presentations and reflect on the topic of information literacy. Also the conference provided an opportunity to connect with some IL colleagues and make some new friends in the process.