Ronan O’Beirne, Assistant Director for Learning Development, has won the 2009 National Information Literacy Award. This is awarded to practitioners who raise the profile of information literacy and can demonstrate innovation, initiative and originality, as well as the impact of the programmes they develop. This UK-wide competition recognizes outstanding achievements in innovation within the area of Information Literacy, defined as ‘the ability to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate and use the information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose’. The award carries a prize of a trophy, plus £500 to the winner’s favourite charity and £500 for personal use.
Picked from a shortlist of nominees from all kinds of libraries around the country, the award was presented to Ronan by Janet Peters Librarian at University of Cardiff on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Ronan was delighted to accept the award at the dinner of the Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) 2009 held at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.
Speaking about the great achievement, Ronan said: “I am delighted to receive this award and in so doing hope that this raises the awareness of leaders of public libraries of the need to engage with information literacy through the Pop-i and LolliPop programmes.”
POP-i was a collaborative non-commercial venture between Imperial College London (ICL) and the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Library Service to develop an on-line learning programme for information literacy aimed at public libraries using the Moodle learning environment.
Ian Watson, former Head of Bradford Libraries, nominated Ronan for the award said: “I was pleased to propose Ronan for this award. The impact of his work has contributed much to information literacy in the public library sector and beyond.”
The project was multi-faceted in its approach: part experimental, in bringing together partners from different sectors to focus on a new audience; part instructional design, in reshaping and extending learning objects; part technical development, in installing and maintaining a new VLE; and part political, in seeking to force the pace on the digital citizenship agenda.
Ronan added: “The foundation for POP-i was co-developed with colleague Debbi Boden University of Worcester, who is taking it forward as LolliPop with a range of partners within the education sector. Originally designed for use in public libraries the programme, which has been extended and made available free under a Creative Commons licence, has now been adopted by many organisations.”
As part of the award, £500 was given to a charity of Ronan’s choosing, the Natural Growth Project run by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Ronan said: “This is a really good cause, the Natural Growth Project (NGP) is a pioneering initiative, combining horticulture and psychotherapy. It takes as its fundamental premise that everyone, everywhere, whatever their experiences, has a continuing relationship with nature.”
Expressing his gratitude to the IL Group and thanking them for their support throughout the project, Ronan said: “It was a pleasure to work on these IL projects, the people were highly dedicated and innovative. I look forward to seeing the initiatives taken further across all sectors and wish all those involved the best of luck.”