Making Hay While the Sun Shines: Using the Cause of Equine Welfare as a Platform for Teaching the Skills of Information Literacy
Keywords:information literacy, academic libraries, equine welfare, horse rescues, horse sanctuaries, library instruction, library research
This paper will tell the story of how a librarian's involvement in a cause served as a catalyst for a whole new way of thinking about teaching, learning and the entire information seeking process. Grounded in community service, this teaching model is based on the principles of service learning and embedded librarianship, continuing to evolve as it literally carries its tools "out in the field", using mobile technology to teach new skills to users in unexpected environments.
Having begun her career as a public librarian, Elizabeth Lorenzen was always interested in outreach. During her undergraduate years at the Herron School of Art, IUPUI, she came up with the idea of having "a place in the country where I could take in horses that no one wanted, giving them a wonderful life." Her concept finally came to fruition when she founded Peacefield Equine Sanctuary, Inc. (PES) in 2008. While realizing that "we could never save all the horses that needed us, our only hope was through education, and teaching the right way to care for our equine friends."
When the Philosophy Department at Indiana State University reached out to Peacefield in 2011 to allow students to receive classroom credit for community service at an animal shelter, the concept continued to evolve, and Lorenzen has not looked back. Youth groups all over the Wabash Valley have participated in PES's ever-expanding volunteer program, from Scouts and 4-H clubs, to at-risk youth in the schools and members of substance abuse rehab programs. Participants learn, not just about the cause of equine welfare, but how to care for these majestic animals while using different types of technology to mine and gather the information, increasing their information literacy skills in exciting and stimulating ways.
Peacefield has been honored nationally for the impact it has made on its community, and beyond. In addition, a new contribution to the community is developing as Peacefield is assisting with training and information dispersal for large animal disaster response.
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