Making Hay While the Sun Shines: Using the Cause of Equine Welfare as a Platform for Teaching the Skills of Information Literacy


  • Elizabeth A. Lorenzen Indiana State University


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.

Author Biography

Elizabeth A. Lorenzen, Indiana State University

Elizabeth A. Lorenzen, MLS 1985, has a career in librarianship that spans over twenty five years, having worked in both public, special, and academic libraries.  She has also worked in many different areas of library services, encompassing both technical and public aspects of the profession.  Currently, Elizabeth is a senior faculty member in the department of Public Services at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN.  She serves as a liaison to the Art, Theater, Philosophy, and History departments, as well as the collection development coordinator for Cunningham Memorial Library’s general reference collection.  Her current research interest is in community service and engagement as it relates to providing academic library services to students in the university community.  In addition to being a librarian, Elizabeth is also an artist, and lives in Seelyville, IN on her farm, which is called Peacefield Equine Sanctuary.