Learning Advanced Information Literacy Skills

Learning Advanced Information Literacy Skills
by Andrea Meszaros


This past semester, I was introduced to the world of online graduate studies when I started my MLIS at the iSchool. In LIBR 203, I learned about many of the resources available to us as online students, including the SJSU King Library website. I was excited to find out about all of the library services available to us and was surprised when I received an email from our very own librarian, Ann Agee, introducing herself. Being a lover of libraries and knowledge, it was like I was a kid in a candy shop trying out all the databases we have at our fingertips. I looked up everything that interested me whether or not it had to do with an assignment.

When it came time for me to pick my information community to study for LIBR 200, which, for those of you who do not know, has been completely re-done (See Professor Stephen’s article to find out more about the re-vised course), I knew I had to choose a group represented within the expatriate or English-speaking Hungarian community around me since we were required to interview people. I considered several different communities including graduate students as a whole, the students I teach at the International Christian School of Budapest (ICSB), and medical students at Semmelweis University. In the end, I settled on online graduate students because many of my colleagues are or were online graduate students.

As I dug into the literature and started interviewing different people in the online graduate student community, I realized that many students do not share my fond memories of beginning their adventure in grad school and ‘playing’ with their school’s library resources. Although I was not surprised, I was disappointed to find that the students I interviewed for my blog posts and final research paper did not make much use of library services beyond the databases provided by their schools. While many of the students expressed frustration with using the databases, not once did one seek help from a reference librarian either by email, phone, chat, or in-person.

Through my study, I came to the conclusion that, as future academic librarians, we can best serve online students through collaborating with instructors to teach students information literacy skills. This will create an environment where students will feel comfortable asking for help while giving them the skills they need when doing independent research. Database companies need to improve the usability of their databases so that non-LIS professionals can use them with ease.



Andrea Meszaros recently finished her first semester at SJSU’s iSchool. She is a library and information technician at the International Christian School of Budapest. You can read more about her study of online graduate students on her iSchool blog and follow her on Twitter here.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Elaine Balogh

    Very well written Andrea. It’s clear your passion for assisting graduate students with finding adequate resources for their research comes through. Keep up the good work.

Comments are closed.