(While I got a lot out of the sessions I attended, I think for me this was the best session in terms of content and food for thought. The presenters had good PowerPoints, but unfortunately, none of them provided a way to access them online as of this writing).
Isabel Espinal discussed "From InfoLit to LatCrit: Latino Studies/Students & Information Literacy."
- Librarians need to attain information literacy about Latinos. Do librarians know the sources for finding information for research on Latinos? (or other minority and underrepresented groups for that matter). This includes knowledge of effective search techniques. (See also the presentation on deconstructing information literacy for similar questions).
- A keyword spelling example: Puerto Rico versus Great Britain. In a reference situation, a librarian did not know how to spell Puerto Rico. Now, if that same librarian did not know how to spell Great Britain, she would be seen as incompetent.
- How can librarians build their competencies in this area? They can take classes in Latino Studies, read articles and books, attend Latino Studies lectures, and they can join REFORMA (which reminds me, I need to renew my membership soon).
- Key to understanding this approach to Latino Information Literacy is the theoretical work in critical race theory (CRT) as well as Latino critical theory (LatCrit). The speaker provided citations for further reading (as I read some of them, I will make notes on the blog).
- Defining elements of CRT and LatCrit:
- CRT and LatCrit focus on race and racism.
- CRT and LatCrit contest dominant ideology.
- CRT and LatCrit focus on social justice and social justice practice.
- CRT and LatCrit recognize experiential knowledge.
- CRT and LatCrit focus on historical context.
- The Universidad de Buenos Aires is the largest university. Keep in mind that public education in Argentina is free. Research libraries are only for graduate students and researchers. At the undergraduate level then, there is a lack of information literacy. The level of information literacy varies for those in the graduate level. This is the context they bring when they come to the United States.
- At CSUHD then, the reference desk will provide Spanish language responses and BI classes in Spanish.
- One of the forms of outreach: the library has a student liaison that works with other campus leaders. This student represents the library for other student groups on campus.
- There is a writing requirement for all students. Librarians have contact with students in this writing program. However, some transfer students are an exception to the requirement, which raises questions about how the library is to reach them. (It is interesting to note that their classes are all hands-on. There are no simple demos or lectures. They have two electronic classrooms with a third one on the way. For me, that is just wishful thinking as I wait for the one that has been promised to be equipped).
- Assessment is crucial in order to continually prove the usefulness of the instruction programs. This goes along with a university-wide assessment element.
- In terms of outreach, the library has done diversity displays, staff training on library tours for non-native English speakers, and collaborations with their International Services Office. And there are still things to do.