For a field approaching a critical period of reappraisal and rethinking of methods, user education is well served by secondary material. A definitive history of training in the use of the library by Bonn in 1960 has been followed by a steady flow of review articles on the subject. Tidmarsh in 1968 concentrated on instruction in the use of academic libraries. After briefly tracing the historical background in Britain and America she went on to describe developments in Britain in theory and practice following the proposals of the Library Association University and Research Section in 1949 for a three‐stage user education programme. She concluded her review with a discussion of the three main problems that were then, and to a certain extent still are, hampering the spread of user education—inadequate finance, lack of timetabled time, and indifference of academic staff. Mews reviewing developments in teaching the use of books and libraries, again with reference to British academic libraries for the period 1966–70, examined courses reported during that period paying particular attention to instruction for new students and undergraduates. Trends she noted included a move to the use of audio‐visual aids and to the appointment of information officers, bringing new opportunities for person‐to‐person enquiries. Surveying current practice in 1970 Pugh noted many difficulties faced by library instruction programmes at the time. These problems were taken up by Scrivener in a significant article describing instruction in library use as a persisting problem. ‘The welter of writing shows clearly the extent of interest in the subject and equally clearly that it is a problem (or complex of problems) to which no generally accepted solutions have been found.’ In America the approaches to teaching library skills to college students have been studied by Dudley, a study which included descriptions of two accredited courses at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California. More recently Givens after discussing the history of the role of the library in user education studied the educational developments of the ‘sixties and the libraries’ response. He discussed the componsnets of a user education programme and the rethinking and reorganization that would be required to achieve that programme.
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