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Newsletter of the Round Table on User Education

July 1997


The Round Table on User Education is looking forward to its fourth IFLA Conference as a formal Round Table after three years work as a Working Group. In this annual Newsletter we report on the activities of the RT and inform you about our programme in the approaching Copenhagen Conference. We also welcome all you who come to Copenhagen to join us in our Open Session and Executive Committee (EC) meetings. The EC Meeting Is Open To All Interested Members Of The RT. Please Take A Print Copy Of This Newsletter With You To Copenhagen: We Have Included Here All The Necessary Documents For The EC Meeting. Looking forward to meeting you in Copenhagen! -- Oili Kokkonen & Martin Kesselman


Draft Agenda, Saturday, 30 August, 15:00 to 17:20 (Venue: Please check final conference programme, session 55.)

  1. Introduction and Welcome
  2. Adoption of the agenda
  3. Attendance of observers
  4. Approval of the Minutes of the EC meeting in Beijing, 1996 (published in this Newsletter)
  5. Approval of the Annual report 1995-96 (Newsletter)
  6. Approval of the Financial statement 1995-96 (distributed at meeting)
  7. Discussion of the Upcoming Open Session 1997: LIBRARY GATEWAYS AND USER EDUCATION
  8. Discussion of the Amsterdam Conference 1998 and 1999 Bangkok Conference Programmes
  9. Approval - Scope & Goals and develop Action Plan for 98-99 for the MTP 1998-2003 (see newsletter)
  10. Reports on RT Projects and Ideas for new RT Projects
  11. Composition of the EC and election of the committee for 98-99.
  12. Election of Chair and Secretary of the RT
  13. Report from the CB on Education and Research
  14. Other Business


  • Marty Kesselman, Secretary of the RT is now also Secretary of the IFLA Literacy Working Group (see report below).

  • Marina Zaluzhskaya and Martin Kesselman co-chaired a workshop at the Crimea'97 conference entitled "Users of Automated Library Information Systems Today: Problems of Study and Teaching." The session was supported in part by our roundtable (see report below).

  • Oili Kokkonen represented RT at Nordic Conference On Information Litaracy & Library Instruction (see newsletter)

  • Marina Zaluzhskaya coordinated the Russian translation of our information brochure .

  • Remember, The Round Table now has an online mailing list for discussion of RT business between IFLA meetings.
    The address for the list is: user_ed@email.rutgers.edu
    To subscribe to the list, address an email ,message to: majordomo@email.rutgers.edu
    Include the one line message: subscribe user_ed yourfullemailaddress


    1. Myoung Wilson, Rutgers University, USA -- "To Dissect A Frog or Design an Elephant: Teaching Digital Information Literacy Through the Library Gateway."

    2. Toini Alhainen, Jyv=E4skyl=E4 University Library, Finland, "Finnish Virtual Library Project - A Way to Evaluate Internet Resources."

    3. Nancy Fjallbrant, John Fjhallbrant, Ingrid Johansson, Mats Rohlin and Gunilla Thomasson, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, "Into INFO (EDUCATE) - WWW-based Programs for Information Education, Training and Access."

    4. Jesus Lau and Jesus Cortes, Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, "Patron Empowerment to Use Library Gateways in LID Countries: The Case of Mexico."

    5. Patricia Yocum, University of Michigan, USA, "Reaching Out: Using Web Pages at the University of Michigan"



The primary purpose of User Education RT is to foster international cooperation in the development of user education in all types of libraries . The Round Table focuses on all aspects of user education including information literacy, learning styles, the use of computers, networked resources, and media in the development of instructional programs, and the training of librarians in user education. The RT also has as it's mission to disseminate information on user instructional programs and trends. The RT is willing to work closely with other IFLA bodies in the development of programs, workshops and projects related to user education.


  1. Organize sessions and workshops during the annual IFLA conferences that highlight user education by libraries.

  2. Develop projects that help disseminate information on user education experts and programs and that promote research into the development of user education programmes in libraries.

  3. Encourage the development and disseminate information on appropriate teaching methodologies and materials for user education through the RT's mailing list, newsletter, and sponsorship of programs at regional library conferences.

  4. Monitor the development of education and training for librarians in user education.

  5. Promote membership in the RT in order to increase effectiveness.


Action Plan for 98-99: to be developed at our EC meeting


by Martin Kesselman,
Secretary of the RT,
25 September 1996.

The Round Table held an open session and workshop at the Annual Conference in Beijing. Attendance at the open session was very light (under 30 attendees) although a very important topic was addressed, information literacy. Unfortunately SI was not available (a major reason we had a strong turnout for our program in Istanbul) and there were problems with competition from library tours at the same time. It also appears that many attendees decide to read the text of papers in print or online via IFLANET rather than attending some sessions. The workshop was successful with 35 attendees. During this year, the RT completed the first draft of it's online directory of User Education Specialists.


One newsletter was published and sent to members of the RT either by email or by post. Additional copies of the printed newsletter were available for distribution at the conference. The newsletter was also posted on the U.S. and U.K. based user education email lists as well as on IFLA-L. Our information brochure was translated into Russian and available at the conference in Beijing. Members of the EC have agreed to translate the brochure into French and Spanish. A translation is also hoped in German.

Program in Beijing

The theme of the open session was Information Literacy: Global Perspectives with 5 papers planned. All papers were either available in the conference booklets or were made available at the conference. One speaker did not attend (Cathy-Mae Karelse) but her paper was in the conference booklets. Two papers of the open session were on IFLANET. The workshop topic was User Education for Remote Library Users. A total of 5 presentations were made. Presentations for the Open Session and Workshop are listed below:


  1. Challenges of literacy development in an information society by Pirjo Linnakyla, Ph.D., Professor, Institute of Educational Research, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland

  2. Information literacy: gaps between concepts and application by Leena Siitonen, Ph.D., Consultant, Lieto, Finland

  3. Network Literacy: New Task for Librarians on User Education by Chengren Hu, Ph.D., Library Automation Coordinator, Andersen Library, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Wisconsin, USA

  4. Information User training in developing countries starting from China by Baiyin Feng, Librarian, Tsingua University Library, Beijing, China


  1. Reaching Out to the Remote User, by Martin Kesselman, Jackie Mardikian by Myoung Wilson, Rutgers University Libraries, New Jersey, USA

  2. Reaching Out Through Technology: A Plan of Success for Instituting Outreach Education and Extension Agent Programs, by Navjit Brar, Trenton State College Library, New Jersey, USA

  3. Instruction and the Internet: Teaching in Cyberspace, by Aniko Halverson, Architecture & Fine Arts Library, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA

  4. Virtual Pathfinders by Steve Sloan, University of New Brunswick Library, Canada

  5. User Education on Use of Electronic Databases: A Model for Orientation Training in Indian Petroleum Industry by A.K. Srivastava and Bhagwan Das, KDM Institute of Petroleum Exploration, ONGC., India.
For the EC meeting, there were 7 attendees. Unfortunately the EC only met once at the conference and having our meeting at the very beginning of the conference results in fewer members being able to attend. We may wish to combine our EC meeting next year with the open session to attract new members. Also, because of events and programs at the conference, a later EC meeting may result in additional ideas for programs and projects.

RT Projects

The first edition of the electronic directory of user education specialists was completed and approved by the CB. The secretary is charged to work with IFLANET administration to make the directory available on IFLANET. Methods for updating the directory will also be explored. The RT put forward a project proposal, approved by the CB, to sponsor a seminar on user education at the Crimea'97 conference next June.

Working Group on Literacy

Martin Kesselman, Secretary, was appointed to this new IFLA working group charged to examine IFLA's existing commitments in support for literacy, look at the current situation in regards to literacy in developing and developed countries, survey the activities of other organizations active in the support of literacy, a to formulate a draft policy statement for IFLA which may result in a new core programme on literacy. Martin Kesselman will coordinate issues related to information literacy. A draft proposal by the working group is planned for the Copenhagen conference. Valeria Stelmakh of the Russian State Library is chair of the working group and Irene Sever of the University of Haifa in Israel (and a member of the user education RT EC) is secretary.

Email Distribution List

The user_ed email discussion list was established this past year for correspondence by members relating to the work of the user education RT. This list needs further promotion to become a viable vehicle for work between IFLA conferences.


  • Oili, Chair, opened up the meeting and asked if there were any additional items for the agenda; welcome and introductions

  • Minutes of the Istanbul meeting were approved. Oili noted that for the Beijing program, we had switched the open session and workshop topics around from what had been originally discussed in Istanbul.

  • Annual report approved. Regarding the financial statement, project funds have been expended. 640 NLG administrative funds have not yet been expended. Financial statement approved.

  • Discussion of Beijing Open Session and Workshop: see annual report for details

  • Copenhagen Plans: We discussed the recommendation of the CB to hold a CB-sponsored one day workshop at the Royal Library School in Copenhagen. Something along the lines of Library Education and User Education: Bridging the Gap. Open Session idea is on the topic of Library Gateways and User Education.

  • Amsterdam Plans -- Because a new roundtable on multimedia is being established, it might be fruitful to coordinate a program with them such as one on User Education in a Multimedia Environment.

  • Additional comments on open session and workshop: It might be fruitful to have the same topic for both the open session and workshop, but that the workshop would be more practical and possibly include hands-on practice. We also discussed the possibility of a very general overall topic for the open session such as Trends in User Education. Another topic noted was one dealing with teaching users how to evaluate information. It was noted that navigation of information has become quite easy, but that users have difficulties in evaluating the information they obtain.

  • MTP -- It was felt that the original objectives and workplan of the RT are still valid and that the secretary should incorporate this information into the new format for the next IFLA MTP. We should also include as part of our objectives to disseminate information on user instructional programs and trends. We reviewed the objectives and workplan published in the July 96 newsletter and decided to combine objectives 1 and 2, 5 and 4. Point B in the workplan needs to be reworked and we wish to add our willingness to coordinate with other SCs and RTs. Secretary will formulate a draft version and post it on the user_ed email list.

  • Projects -- The first version of the Online Directory of User Education Specialists is now complete. Sign-off by the CB is expected at this conference and then the secretary will contact IFLANET regarding transfer to their web site and look at ways in which the database can be updated on a regular basis. Marina Zaluzhskaya volunteered to coordinate efforts in getting specialists from CIS (commonwealth of independent states) countries into the directory.

    A new project idea, sponsoring a User Education seminar at the 1997 Crimea Conference in the Ukraine, was discussed. Marty Kesselman agreed to develop a proposal that could be presented at the CB meeting on Friday (proposal was approved for at least 840NLG).

  • Marty Kesselman as secretary will serve as information coordinator for the = RT.

  • IFLA Position Paper on Copyright -- no mention is made of end users and copyright, i.e. obligations of users and the role of libraries in education users in the use of electronic information.

  • Report from the CB -- Unfortunately, there were only 4 in attendance at the first meeting. We discussed the information coordinator position, translation services at the Beijing conference and the possibility of holding a joint workshop in Copenhagen.

  • Brochure -- Marina Zaluzhskaya presented us with several copies of a Russian translation of our information brochure to be made available at the IFLA table and to be used at various conferences in Russia and the CIS states such as the Crimea conference. Jesus Lau has volunteered to do a Spanish version. It was noted that Marie Tarin has agreed to do a French translation for us. A German version is needed as well.

  • Literacy WG -- IFLA has established a new working group on Literacy to possibly plan a new IFLA core programme. Marty Kesselman has been appointed to reflect the interests of information literacy. Marty will share news on the work of the group via the user_ed email list and the newsletter.

  • Meeting adjourned at 10:55 A.M. Respectfully submitted, Martin Kesselman, Secretary


-- Oili Kokkonen

The conference was organized by the Association of the Nordic Research Libraries (NVBF) and was held in Linkoping, Sweden in November 19-20, 1996. The RT was represented by the Chair, who, in addition to her paper on Information Literacy also had the possibility to present the conference the activities of the RT.

The Conference papers are accessible on the Linkoping University Web site: http://www.ep.liu.se/

After the Conference, a Nordic discussion list on user education has been established: useredu-nvbf@mercury.dtb.dk


-- Marty Kesselman

In June I had the opportunity to attend the Crimea '97 conference in Sudak. The International Crimea Conferences in the Ukraine each year have become the premiere library conference for Russia and the Former Soviet Union (FSU). In just 4 years, the number of participants has grown from 150 to over 800 participants with representatives from more than 25 countries. At the opening session, Yakov Shraiberg, Deputy Director of the Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology and chief organizer of the Crimea conferences, noted that the Crimea Conference has become the third major library event of the world after the American Library Association and IFLA conferences.

Much of the focus at the Crimea conferences is on new information technologies. One of the keynote addresses was given by Victor Montviloff of UNESCO who discussed the challenges libraries are facing in cyberspace such as the acquisition of new technologies, reaching out closer to users and how we are indispensable in the electronic infrastructure to provide needed access points of information. He went on to say that libraries need to change their image from being just a storehouse of old books. Not surprising as Russia and FSU countries have been hard hit economically during the 1990s. Several of the talks during the conference mentioned how dependent libraries in these countries are on outside funding, particularly from the Soros Foundation and the Open Society. Montviloff urged libraries to change from traditional thinking and take a more visionary approach by becoming gateways to information and cooperate with each other in this effort. In fact, The UNESCO Libnet 2000 program will link 150 Russian libraries between 1997 and 2000 using the Internet.

In one of the numerous sessions on the role of the Internet in libraries, Terry Kuny of the IFLA Universal DataFlow and Telecommunications Core Programme at the National Library of Canada spoke on the need for libraries to use their skills in selection, evaluation, and description; to manage information overload for our users and to help work on better filtering systems. Keiso Katsura of Surugadai University in Japan discussed how OPACs on the World Wide Web are being reinvented as reference tools, in particular noting the development of metadata description of Internet sites. Jose Borbinha of the Lisbon Technical University in Portugal discussed the AcquiTec networked digital library initiative at his university which includes user profiles based on a thesaurus to help link users with appropriate documents and thus providing an important avenue for libraries to provide value-added information. New information technologies were reviewed during this session such as the emergence of Web TV, Connected CDs (CD-ROMs linked to WWW sites for updated information), and Digital videodiscs which store up to 81 gigabytes of information. Silverplatter and Dialog are already preparing databases in this new format.

I was involved in the session, entitled "Users of Automated Library Information Systems Today: Problems of Study and Teaching," which I co-chaired with Marina Zaluzhskaya of the Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology. The impetus for this session and the reason the IFLA User Education Round Table wished to sponsor it, was to establish a strong user instruction presence at the Crimea conferences emphasizing the expanding needs for user education in the electronic library environment and the need for international cooperation in this area. My presentation entitled "Teaching Beyond the Walls: Reaching Out to Library Users in the Networked Environment," provided an overview of instructional programs at Rutgers and other U.S. libraries such as interactive online guides, Internet based tutorials such as InfoWeb which we developed for engineering students, use of listservs for instructional purposes, and how instruction is being incorporated into the curriculum through hands-on workshops, smart classrooms, and distance learning. Via the Internet, libraries can now also cooperate together internationally in the development of instructional resources. Marza Vorster, from University of South Africa reviewed the unique demands and challenges of providing training in networked resources to users with varying socio-cultural backgrounds and needs. Dmitry Sivurov discussed training needs of agricultural users in Belarus, who up to now have been very dependent on traditional print sources. Librarians at the Agricultural Complex began offering training for users on new information technologies and resources and hope to improve their teaching ability by participation in international exchanges, visits to foreign libraries, and attending international conferences. Zhabko and Sokolova of the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg discussed training needs when implementing automation in public and academic libraries and the need for cooperation in this area.

Marina Zaluzhskaya discussed a survey of training programs by libraries in this part of the world. The majority of libraries surveyed are networked and have online catalogs. Many also have specialized databases supported by the library which are for the most part used locally by users. However, the survey showed that most respondents had no instructional programs for teaching electronic resources outside of printed user guides. Some of the greatest obstacles are the lack of highly qualified staff and the fact that only 20% of the responding libraries currently have Internet access. Zaluzhskaya and Ksenia Volkova discussed the educational programs at the Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology. They both noted that there is probably a gap of 8 years between libraries in Russia and libraries in the U.S. in the development of these programs but that the increased numbers of home computers and teaching of informatics in secondary schools is helping to close the gap. The primary goal of user education in Russia is to make better use of new and emerging technologies to help staff and users learn new ways to locate neccessary and valuable information. The library currently offers instructional programs to a wide spectrum of users from elementary school through university . To assist in the myriad of electronic resources available, the library is developing a database that describes the more than 50 CD-ROM databases owned, an instructional program for OCLC First Search and are investigating the use of Wizards such as those found on Microsoft products that provide real examples that can be helpful in user self-instruction of electronic resources. Nina Abakumova of the Central Scientific Agricultural Library in Moscow discussed training programs in their library for private companies using their resources. Some of the obstacles for users are the lack of library experience, that most international databases are in English, and fear of computers. She stressed that libraries need not duplicate the work of other organizations and that the Internet offers the opportunity to share instructional experiences and programs.

The Crimea'97 Conference offered an important opportunity for the IFLA User Education Round Table to reach out beyond IFLA in the international community concerning the increasing need and importance of user education programs in the emerging electronic library environment. Besides the presentations, the view of Sudak Holiday House where the conference was held was breathtaking with magnificent gardens, the sandy beaches of the Black Sea and the 14th century Genoese tower that overlooks the town. The conference included ample time for networking and fun including a concert by the singing and dancing troupe of the Black Sea Navy, a banquet, a small exhibit, dinners with local food, a visit to a Tartar house, and the closing reception with the local Novy Svet champagne and bananas. Highly recommended, the Crimea '98 conference will also take place in Sudak from June 6-14, 1998.


Hague, Netherlands
Irene Sever volunteered to be Chair and
Marty Kesselman volunteered to be Secretary

Several discussions took place on the role IFLA might play with literacy, the need for a 6th core programme on literacy, and the work of the working group. The WG needs to have an interim report for council at IFLA'97 in Copenhagen. Winston will report on our progress at these meetings in the Hague to the IFLA PB and Executive Board.

One major way we agreed IFLA could have an impact is with the promotion of literacy programs in libraries, in particular through cooperation with other NGOs and foundations involved with literacy programs worldwide. Francoise reported on a meeting of Unesco and NGOs in Tokyo in 1995. She noted that at that meeting there was no discussion of the important role of libraries in literacy programmes. We realized as a WG that we must first define a role for libraries and library associations with literacy and then we could come up with some potential roles for IFLA.

It was noted that library schools can provide interest and special training for librarians in literacy.
Bror Tronbacke discussed his organization, Easy to Read Foundation (Sweden) which is both a provider and publisher of literacy materials for developing countries. This led to a discussion of copyright issues in making literacy materials available and the role foundations might play in helping to provide copyright clearance.

On Sunday, we started our discussions on definitions we may wish to use for literacy. We decided to endorse the Unesco Public Library Manifesto, endorse the objectives of ALP (page 17 of the current Medium Term Programme), endorse the objectives of library services to multicultural populations (pg. 36 of MTP), endorse IFLA's Long-Term Policy which addresses literacy under role of libraries and general policy issues (p. 5 of MTP). We also reviewed the Guidelines for library services for young adults pamphlet produced by the IFLA Section of Children's Libraries and several country-specific documents.

We next discussed some further thoughts about libraries and literacy that should be in our report, such as:

  • school is not the only place literacy takes place -- i.e. activities, family, religious institutions, etc.
  • our support for lifelong learning and continuing the process for those that go through literacy programs.
  • teaching of information skills vs. provision of information
  • how we help patrons to become autonomous/self-sufficient depending on the socioeconomic context -- i.e. in some societies it may be just the ability to read and write, in other societies there may be needs for other literacies (e.g. information/computer literacy).
  • include some information on why literacy programs fail

Our report should specify those literacy activities that libraries can perform well, those that can be done by library schools, those that can be done by library associations, those that can be done by IFLA. It was felt that IFLA would be most effective in working through library associations and that IFLA could encourage the development of associations as appropriate and promote the strengthening of associations which are weak. Sections needed in our interim report: Explanation of the aims and objectives of the Literacy WG, Definitions of what we mean by some of the terms, Issues facing library services/librarians/library schools in developed and developing countries, Issues Facing IFLA or aims and objectives we should quote the terms of reference for the working group plus we can refer to the public library manifesto and long term policy of IFLA.

Definitions needed for the report include literacy, functional literacy (use the Unesco definition), information literacy, gender issues, age groups.

Initial Listing of Things IFLA might do regarding libraries and literacy:

  • Develop indicators/measures for library literacy programs
  • Provide translations of professional texts for literacy programs
  • Develop guides for literacy programs in libraries
  • Provide guides for training staff
  • Provide consultation / cooperation with other organizations -- IGOs, NGOs, publishers, etc.
  • Identify and circulate information in major publications -- e.g. research results
  • Publish an IFLA Literacy Newsletter.
  • Create a listserv for continuing discussions on libraries and literacy
  • Be a clearinghouse for literacy materials (incudes some of the items mentioned above)
  • Develop a policy for dealing with the media (i.e. for public relations purposes, to promote the awareness of library services, to make literacy information and texts available via the media)
  • Prepare a literacy survival kit for libraries which could be distributed on CD and/or slide-tape.
  • Promote research into libraries and literacy (it was noted that very little currently exists).
  • Do an international survey to determine the current state of affairs of libraries and literacy to have some baseline data on where we are today.

The aims of the survey is to collect missing data on literacy program and identify reasons for success/failure.

Finally we discussed the timeline and assignments from now until Copenhagen:

March 97
Comments to HQ and PB by Winston Roberts

March 97
Establish an email list for the working group (done). Address is literacy_wg@email.rutgers.edu

April - May 97
Irene and Francoise will prepare a survey instrument and distribute it to WG members for comment. Then survey will need to be translated into appropriate languages.

May 97
Draft interim report written -- again comments by WG members.

June - July 97
Contact library schools as collection points for the survey

June - July 97
Establish IFLA listserv on libraries and literacy

June - July 97
Finish Interim report

June - July 97
Prepare Agenda for Copenhagen meeting(s)

August 97
IFLA 97 in Copenhagen: Give interim report to IFLA Boards, Read report at council, meetings of the WG (plan to meet Thursday late afternoon /early evening before the conference -- after 3:30/4:00PM)

Sept 97 +
Begin survey / Identify work program for the WG in 1998

April 98
Progress report to IFLA Boards

August 98
IFLA 98 in Amsterdam: Full report of the WG. Possible title: "Beyond JomTien: How Libraries Can raise Literacy Levels"

Respectfully submitted, Marty Kesselman , Secretary April 2, 1997


(see http://archive.ifla.org/III/eb/exeboard.htm on IFLANET for address and e-mail information).

Members of the Round Table on User Education

  • Paulette Bernhard, EBSI / Universite de Montreal, Canada
  • Nancy Fjallbrandt, Chalmers University of Technology, Goteborg, Swedene
  • Ian M. Johnson, Robert Gordon University School of Librarianship and Information Studies, Aberdeen,Scotland
  • Martin A. Kesselman (Secretary), Rutgers University Libraries, New Jersey, USA Email: martyk@rci.rutgers.edu
  • Oili Kokkonen (Chair), Sopukatu 7, 40720 Jyv{skyl{, Finland; Email: okokkone@tukki.jyu.fi
  • Sinikka Koskiala, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland
  • Jesus Lau, Directorate of Information Resources, UACJ, Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico
  • Teodora Oker-Blom, KIBIC, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Hannelore B. Rader, University of Kentucky, USA
  • Irene E. Sever, University of Haifa, Israel
  • Marie Belle Tarin, Bibliothecaire, Institut National de Recherche Pedagogique Bibliotheque, Paris, France
  • Eva Trotzig, National Library for Psychology & Education, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Corresponding Member: Clare M. Walker, University of the Witwatersrand Library, Johannesburg, South Africa

Newsletter Editor

Martin Kesselman,
IFLA User Education RT
Rutgers University Library Media Services
Kilmer Library, Avenue E,
Piscataway, New Jersey 08855


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