Lightning Talk: Program Description Abstract

The Boot Camp: An Effective Measure to Teach Information Literacy to Graduate Students

Sunday, May 5
3:00 PM - 3:05 PM
Room: Columbus KL (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Background : Teaching information literary (IL) to graduate students poses a challenge for libraries. Notably, science graduates are under strong time constraints, among them lab work, attending classes, and writing reports or publications. On the other hand, IL competencies, except for basic knowledge of statistics, are usually not part of the curriculum of graduate programs. In this lightning talk, we give a snapshot of a comprehensive instruction format that promotes graduate students’ IL competencies and fosters library outreach to this patron group.

Description : We set up a series of IL workshops packed into one day (a format called Boot Camp) within an academic health sciences library that serves colleges of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and nursing, among other health professions. The target group of the workshops were graduate students of all colleges, in particular approximately 350 PhD students within biomedical departments of a college of medicine. Our idea was that the workshops should teach essential IL competencies from the start to the end of a PhD project.

Conclusion : When we offered the Boot Camp the first time, we did not understand that it would be necessary to be in frequent communication with the students who signed up for the event, so few registrants actually attended. In addition to better communication, the second time the Boot Camp was offered we also emphasized the ‘logical’ order of the workshops—searching the literature, reference and data management, scientific writing, publishing (with an emphasis on Open Access), and requirements for thesis submission. The liaison librarian introduced the event himself when we offered it last time, which may have increased attendance and also attracted graduates from 'difficult' areas (e.g., biochemistry). In sum, our Boot Camp contributed to closing the gap between the library and the graduates at our institution.


Mirko von Elstermann

Biomedical Sciences Librarian
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA


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Janna C. Lawrence, AHIP

Deputy Director
Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa

Janna C. Lawrence, MLIS, AHIP, is Deputy Director of Hardin Library for the Health Sciences at the University of Iowa, She has over 30 years experience as a health sciences librarian and user education has been a focus throughout her career.


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The Boot Camp: An Effective Measure to Teach Information Literacy to Graduate Students

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