Developing a European network of excellence in information literacy

Two previous speakers reflect on the connections they made at Internet Librarian International and describe some of the far-reaching results.

Networking at Internet Librarian International

In 2008, we presented a paper ('Marketing research in internet resources: user-need analyses') at Internet Librarian International in London.  We had previously collaborated on a number of projects in both Norway and Romania.

During a coffee break we were approached by Padraig Kirby and Jerald Cavanagh of the Limerick Institute of Technology. They were interested in collaborating to develop information literacy modules and teaching materials for use in other parts of Europe.

Building a collaborative network

In May 2009, Angela organised an exploratory workshop ('Strategic and collaborative interdisciplinary approaches for information literacy skills) in Brasov, Romania.  The event was funded by the Romanian Council of Research. Following on from this event, we began to build a network of participants from Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Romania (the UK followed later).  This collaboration continued in a workshop held in Bergen in 2009.

Developing a network of excellence in information literacy

In 2011, we applied for a European Commission Tempus IV project called 'Developing information literacy for life-long learning and the knowledge economy in western Balkan countries'. (The western Balkan countries are Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, while the EU-group is Greece, Ireland, Romania and the UK. Norway is part of the management group).

Project activities included building a strong network of excellence in information literacy in the area, design curricula and teaching material/content to be used in the countries to promote information literacy in the universities.

How the project works

The project activities are organised into working groups.  These groups include:

  • a project management committee, which handles implementation
  • a didactic group to edit and set up a shared version of guidelines
  • a scientific working group to establish guidelines; and
  • a training workshop group to develop a shared version of guidelines for the permanent training of librarians and teaching staff.

Every project partner has at least two people involved in each group. The groups are led by one of the partners from the EU-countries. There are meetings in all the partner institutions. All the partners can have study trips set up for two librarians and two academic staff. The project has an evaluations group formed by professors from the EU-countries but outside of the project group.

Project objectives

  • Develop IL programmes for lifelong learning and their use in curricula as appropriate
  • Develop innovative online information literacy modules for lifelong learning
  • Harmonise the IL programmes with those already available in the Partner countries
  • Strengthen the capacities of higher education institutions for the strategic planning and implementation of IL programmes to instil transferable skills for a competitive, dynamic, knowledge based economy
  • Develop IL policy, guidelines, goals and mission
  • Disseminate approaches to IL development and ensure their sustainability.

(You can read more about this project here.)

We consider this an important collaborative project that will strengthen the quality of higher education and research in the western Balkan countries, as well as being valuable for the EU-country group.

An Internet Librarian International success story!

We are excited that it all happened because of the talk we gave at Internet Librarian International and the relationships we developed there with other librarians. A success story, indeed!

Angela Repanovici is Professor at Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania. Ane Landøy is Arts and Humanities Librarian at University of Bergen, Norway.

Photograph of Angela Repanovici in front of a project poster courtesy of the authors.