Bringing Information Literacy Home
Lesley Mutinta Moyo gets around. A native of Zambia, she began her professional career as a lecturer in library studies at the University of Zambia. She moved on to the University of Zimbabwe Library, where she was science and technology librarian and head of reader services, and then to the University of Botswana, where she was a lecturer on library and information studies. Moyo came to the United States as an instructor at Delaware Technical and Community College, Stanton Campus, Newark. Now at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Moyo acknowledges she enjoys “experiencing different cultures and settings.”
When she was in Botswana, the country was in the process of evaluating the uses of the web and other information technologies. Moyo assisted, serving on the executive committee of the Botswana Information Technology Society and the technical committee of the International Center for Theoretical Physics – affiliated Centre for Computer Education in Southern Africa.
Moyo has reported on her research for these projects in journal articles on information technology strategies for Africa’s libraries. She has written and spoken on the need to develop indigenous technological capabilities, vendor service support and training, and the challenges and opportunities of distance learning for professional library education. Moyo remains passionate about “contributing to librarianship in Africa, through scholarly research and activity.”
Her current interest, as head of the Gateway Libraries, is in using the net as a tool for individually tailored mentoring of students who are overwhelmed by the complexity of the library system. With the goal of “enriching their overall information literacy experience,” the program is high touch. Librarians meet frequently with the students, from planning to completion of their papers, helping them to refine their topic, figure out what kind of questions need to be addressed, and choose the most appropriate information resources. Since the model for this research process is also accessible at the Information Literacy & You web site, it is available to students who don’t want to approach the information desk.
Because students are likely to assume that all the information they need is on the net, and because librarians will never even see many of the library’s distance learners, Moyo is particularly concerned with using the library’s web pages to help students select better research resources. That requires creating library web pages that are intuitive and easy to use, so she has become an expert on usable design.
Moyo says her current job combines the two things she likes best: being a practicing librarian and a teaching librarian. She firmly believes that “the Internet and related technologies will increasingly become standard vehicles for delivery of library services globally.” With the opening of Penn State’s World Campus – serving students in all 50 states and 20 countries – she will see that belief vindicated and have the opportunity to continue to serve the continent of her birth.
Moyo still gets around. But thanks to the Internet, she doesn’t necessarily need her passport to do it.