Active use of the library as a place of education: Tapping into the educational capacity of the library to leverage it for education
Hiromi Naya, President, Meiji University
The multilateral literacy education activities of the Meiji University Library, such as seminar tours, free library tours, and Active Use of the Library and computerization of its content, were selected as one of the 2007 Support Program for Distinctive University Education (Tokushoku GP (specific good practice) for short) (For the announcement by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), click here). The Tokushoku GP is a program by MEXT to “select distinctive efforts designed to improve the quality of student education, such as successful educational methods and improvements on curriculums, from among the programs of national, public, and private universities and support them” (excerpts from the official website of MEXT). Meiji University has long strived to incorporate the library functions into its curriculum in a systematic and continuous manner by positioning the library not only as a center of academic information, but also as a place of education. By being selected as one of the Tokushoku GPs, we believe that our attempt has been recognized and positioned as a program that plays an important role in the introductory undergraduate education and that serves as useful educational support to the specialized education. In the future, we will continue our ongoing effort to further improve the quality of the program and to contribute to the efforts to “provide information to society at large and invigorate higher education as a whole” (excerpts from the MEXT website).
- Name of the program
- Active use of library as a place of education
Meiji University has been striving to incorporate the library functions into its curriculum in a systematic and continuous manner by positioning the library not only as a center of academic information, but also as a place of education. This program plays an important role in introductory undergraduate education and provides useful educational support for specialized education. Specifically, it promotes multilateral education, such as systematic information literacy education via an official undergraduate course of Active Use of the Library, one of the interschool common courses open to all undergraduates, and a seminar tour that is conducted as part of the classwork in each school. Based on the high reputation among students and faculty members, we have been expanding the scope of the program each year.
- The Active Use of the Library course features the following: (1) It focuses on training using information equipment; (2) the faculty and library staff members teach together; and (3) credits are awarded to students who have completed the course. In the course evaluation questionnaire, students have highly evaluated the practice-oriented course as useful. The feature of this course that makes a fresh departure from other courses lies in the fact that not only faculty members, but also many library staff members take part in teaching. Lectures by faculty members and practical training by the library staff who work at the forefront of the library produce a synergetic educational effect. Moreover, awarding credits to students who complete the course has served to make the students and faculty recognize the significance of the course, enriching each lesson, and creating a sense of tension. For the seminar tour, efforts were made to better reflect individual requests, such as maintaining close contact between the library staff and the faculty and improving the request form. As one of the public relations activities, we encourage all faculty members to use the libraries through the Educational Affairs Committee and the Faculty Council.
- People say that today is the age of lifelong learning. If we can make the most of the library as a lifelong learning base, we will be able to improve the quality of our lives. Needless to say, the acquisition of skills to fully use the library while in school will certainly contribute to enhancing the educational effect of undergraduate education. It will also lead to producing strong individuals with solid knowledge required in a knowledge-based society. We believe that the active use of library constitutes an indispensable part of developing the leaders of the next generation. In the Active Use of the Library course, students also acquire skills to screen an enormous amount of retrieved literature by using titles and abstracts to obtain what they really need. We believe that this course meets the needs of the students who live in the age overloaded with information.
Active Use of the Library
The Active Use of the Library course started in 2000. This is one of the electives open to all students (interschool common courses) and offers two credits per semester.
There are 14 lectures in a semester, and these lectures are organically connected to one another. Based on the practical training on information and material search techniques, students learn basic skills to use the collected information and knowledge in writing reports and academic papers. The course is designed to enhance student awareness of social manners and moral issues through classes, such as the Internet Training Session where students learn the manners required when using information and Library and Copyright Law that aims to develop students’ social nature.
We strive to offer a course that provides practical learning (acquisition of skills), conveys the pleasure of learning through books, and informs students of the current issues.
The most distinctive feature of this course is the teaching style where the faculty and the library staff teach together.
Different from general library guidance, the Seminar Tour features the provision of the library’s facility and material guidance and the information search training in accordance with the needs of faculty members who teach specific subjects.
In an effort to provide effective educational support, the library staff meet with each faculty member to offer a tour tailored to each seminar, such as a tour for the introductory education of freshmen and a tour for the specialized education of juniors and seniors.
The digital contents of the Active Use of the Library course have been created and published on the official websites of the University and the Library. This attempt has made the course content available not only to students in the course for their preparation and review of lessons, but also to alumni and other members of society. It can be accessed from off campus. This is an attempt to widely share our educational content with people on and off campus.
Currently, the site offers not only information on how to use Meiji University OPAC, how to locate periodicals, and library and copyright law, but also videos of library tours on each campus. We plan to further enrich and expand the contents in the future.
- Free Tour
For the students who are not taking a seminar or could not participate in a seminar tour, we offer a library guide tour that can be applied for on an individual basis all the time.
- Lecture Delivery
Upon request from a faculty member, the library staff visit the classroom and give instructions on how to use the library as they do in a seminar tour.
A training session on how to use a new online database or electronic journal is provided on an as-needed basis.
- Educational Capacity of the Library / Eriko Hirosawa
Published in Daigaku Jiho (Vol. 56, No. 315 (330th issue in total volumes), July 2007, pp. 42-45)
- Thoughts on Education through University Library / Akira Saito
Published in Tosho no Fu - The Bulletin of the Meiji University Library (No. 6, March 2002, pp. 176-193)
- Library Literacy Education and Students’ Response – Practice of Active Use of the Library / Tomokazu Ono
Published in Tosho no Fu - The Bulletin of the Meiji University Library (No. 7, March 2003, pp. 17-34)