How Minorities View the Library

Introduction

Teachers and lecturers use various methods to gauge students’ educational performance and use of the library. Educational assessment may be done on an individual, a group, or a select group of students. Moreover, teachers can assess various educational skills such as library skills, computer skills, and critical thinking skills (Mckechnie and Karene 408). Lecturers and teachers assess different classes of students to enhance the information available to scholars and Knowledge seekers. Among the classes of students who receive separate assessments are the minority group. Minorities may include ethnic minorities or mentally challenged minorities. Teachers use various methods to determine how minorities perform in a variety of educational activities available in the schools. How students use the library is among the most critical areas of assessment. Therefore, assessing the use of the library in schools may enable teachers to come up with comprehensive schemes to use while administering education to the different groups of students. This report focuses on how teachers can use information theory, library science theory, and educational theory, to gauge the minorities’ view of the library.

Using Information Literacy Theory to Assess Minorities

Information literacy incorporates other traditional literacy requirements such as library skills, critical thinking, and computer skills in its definition. Researchers and scholars engage in various studies to better define information literacy. A number of scholars have defined information literacy and an information literate person. Information literacy has been defined as the adoption of behaviours that enhance a person’s ability to identify, obtain and digest information effectively (Rubin). Therefore, a person is considered information literate if he or she has the ability to identify, find, evaluate and use information effectively (Breen 4). All persons who are considered information literate must exhibit the ability to identify, find and utilize information gained (Breen 5). This is because these abilities are vital to all library users (Walton 16). Most teachers use the information literacy theory to determine the competence of their students. Moreover, teachers use this theory to gauge and determine the minorities’ view of the library and its resources.

By using an information literacy framework, one can find out the views of minority students pertaining to libraries. An information literacy framework is a tool used to recognize the reason behind information requirements (Breen 6). Moreover, it recognizes the student’s level of understanding, level of evaluation, and use information obtained from the library. This framework employs a number of analyses to attain its objective of determining the information literacy of a student. These analyses are carried out on the students after using the library. The main purpose of the analyses is to determine how the students recognize the need for information. In addition to this, the analysis finds out how the students locate information, evaluate the information, and use the information to their personal benefit. Once the teacher documents the information on the student about library use, he or she may determine the level of information literacy of a student. This is done by evaluating the manner that students use to identify, access, and evaluate information. Usually, information literate students will exhibit a great understanding of their activities when assessing and using library information systems. Using the same principle, teachers can gauge the minorities’ attitudes on library use. Teachers need to sample the minority group in the schools and determine how they identify, access, and utilize information in the library. The manner used to access and utilize information will assist the teacher in gauging the attitude of the minority group towards the library. Moreover, it will provide the level of information literacy among the minority groups in school. It should be noted that this method is applicable to both the mentally challenged minority and the ethnic minority.

Using Educational Theories to Assess Minorities

To assess minorities’ attitudes towards the library, teachers may use various educational theories. These theories include constructivism theory and behaviorism theory. Constructivism theory encompasses the philosophy that learning is based on the fact that each learner has his personal experience that assists him or her in the learning process. In order to investigate the attitude of minorities toward the library using this method, the teacher must first understand the unique experience of each student while using the library. This experience will provide the teachers with a means of gauging the student, use of the library (Agot 79). From the constructivism theory, learning entails searching for knowledge and starts when a student tries to find and construct personal meaning about something. Therefore, in order to assess the minorities’ attitude towards the library teachers must first understand the mental model of each student. This will increase the knowledge of teachers in understanding library needs for students through the assumptions that may arise in favour of their models. Using this model calls for the elimination of the grading system instead the assessment of minorities becomes part of the learning process.

Behaviourism on the other hand is focused on the behavioural aspects exhibited by students. This theory does not take into account the mental activities of the students instead, it defines learning as the acquisition of new behaviour. Using this theory, teachers can determine the minorities’ views toward the library. Minority students who exhibit new behaviours when using the library will be considered to have learned something new. Also by observing the minority behaviours when using the library, teachers may be able to identify their view of the library. Minorities who frequently use the library have a positive attitude towards learning (Agot 83).

Using Library science Theory to Assess Minorities’ Attitudes

Library science theory focuses on issues pertaining to knowledge organization. This includes the manner in which the knowledge is stored and presented to the users of such knowledge (Rubin). Librarians have rules that ensure the knowledge is properly disseminated to the users of the library. Teachers and lecturers on the other hand can use the critical theory for library information science to assess students’ use of the library (Gloria et al.). This theory is dependent on the Marxist theory and has been developed into a tool suitable for research in various subjects (Leckie et al 22). The critical theory for libraries recognises heterogeneity among individuals. Moreover, the theory shows the difference in cultures and democracy. In addition to this, the critical theory indicates that the power of students to learn and access information is based on ethnicity race, class, and sexuality. This theory forms a useful tool in library information science. Library information system theory is vital in filling gaps that exist in social knowledge. Such a gap may include the views of minorities in the library. Teachers may use this theory to assess minorities and reveal the barriers that exist in the use of the library. Since the critical theory is wide and covers various social aspects it can easily be used to find the opinion of the minorities in the library. Each group of students has their opinion of the library depending on his or her ethnicity, class, and preferences. The critical library theory recognizes the difference in class, ethnicity, and preference. It, therefore, acts as a useful tool in assessing students from the different categories and classes. Teachers can study the minority group separately based on their preference, class, and ethnicity. The result from such studies yields the minority students’ view of the library. Usually, the views will depend on the student’s background, ethnicity, class, and preference.

Conclusion

Teachers and lecturers can use various methods to gauge students’ educational performance and use of the library. How students use the library is one of the most important areas of assessment. Therefore, assessing the use of the library in schools may enable teachers to come up with comprehensive schemes to use while administering education to the different groups of students. Teachers use various theories to assess how minorities view the library. Included in these theories are information theory, library science theory, and educational theory. Information literacy incorporates other traditional literacy requirements such as library skills, critical thinking, and computer skills. Researchers and scholars engage in various studies to better define information literacy. Some of the educational theories used include behaviourism and constructivism. Constructivism theory encompasses the philosophy that learning is based on the fact that each individual learner has his personal experience that assists him or her in the learning process. Behaviourism on the other hand is focused on the behavioural aspects exhibited by students. Library science theory focuses on issues pertaining to knowledge organization. This includes the manner in which the knowledge is stored and presented to the users of such knowledge.

Works Cited

Agot, Berger. “Recent Trends In Library Services For Ethnic Minorities: The Danish Experience.” Library management 23.2 (2002): 79-87. Print.

Breen, Ellen. “Information Literacy and Higher Education: Theory and Practice.” School Library Association, 22.6 (2009): 1-26. Print.

Leckie, Gloria, Lisa, Given and John, Bushman. Critical Theory for Library and Information Science: Exploring the Social from Across the Disciplines. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2010. Print.

Mckechnie, Lynne and Karene, Pettigrew. “Surveying the Use of Theory in Library and Information Science Research: A Disciplinary Perspective.” Library Trends 50.3 (2002): 406-417. Print.

Rubin, Richard. Foundation of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2004. Print.

Walton, Geoff. Information Literacy: Recognizing the Need. Oxford: Chandos, 2006. Print.