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NSU teacher receives literacy award for library work
Aug 03, 2013 | 407 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State University Instructor of English Michelle Pichon was selected as the 2013 recipient of the Fleming A. Thomas Faculty Information Literacy Award.

Recipients of the award must meet several criteria that include working with librarians to create assignments that will ensure a positive research experience for students, scheduling information literacy sessions for students and encouraging students to work closely with librarians to further their research.

“I use the library in my classes in a variety of ways,” said Pichon. “In addition to including library instruction at the library and online in my classes, I have adapted a mandatory reference librarian conference into all of my classes, even online. The library makes itself available to the students in a variety of ways and is able to provide them with so much guidance.”

Along with her teaching, Pichon is a writer. Pichon’s work has been published in Country Roads Magazine, Louisiana English Journal, and Xavier Review. She also started an artists group with several friends in the Cane River area called Down River Art Gang (DRAG).

Pichon was raised in San Antonio, but considers herself a Louisiana native as her family has been part of the state since it came into existence. Of Louisiana Creole heritage, she has familial ties to Slidell and Cane River (Isle Brevelle), where she currently resides. Her heritage and culture are the foundation of her writing, giving a unique and modern voice to a heritage so rich in history.

“I always tell my students what a valuable resource the library is,” said Pichon. “I also encourage my students to go to the librarians for help with other assignments. The librarians are a wealth of information. These are very smart people who want nothing more than to help you.”

Pichon also instructs her students on how to get the most out of using the library.

“I make it a point to teach my students to be prepared and respectful,” she said. “I give them guidelines about how to approach the librarian and then meet with them. The librarian is not going to just do the work for you. They are there to help you.

“The assignment that I give them prepares them for learning how to use resources around them and how to ask for guidance in a professional way. Most importantly, by requiring that my students individually meet with the reference librarian. They not only gain skills in communicating their topics, narrowing their topics and researching their topics, they are able to find out first-hand how helpful the library and librarian could be to their academic experience.”

Pichon believes learning to use the library is one of the most valuable skills a college student can acquire.

“These skills are important because they show students real world applications of the material they are learning in my class,” said Pichon. “I show them how the writing, thinking and research they are doing applies to their lives outside of the university. They learn to be resourceful and how to collaborate.”

Thomas was director of libraries at Northwestern State from 2005 – 2009 and interim director in 2004-05.

A 1955 graduate of Northwestern State, Thomas earned a graduate degree in library science at LSU and completed post-graduate coursework at Rutgers University.  He worked in various capacities in libraries at The Citadel, Indiana University and Miami-Dade Junior College and served as chairman of the Division of Learning Resources at Burlington County College in Pemberton, N.J., while earning a certificate in library management at the University of Maryland’s Graduate School of Library Science.  

He was dean of Academic Affairs at Burlington County College for eight years and later was director of that campus library.  

He returned to Northwestern State in 1988 as reference and interlibrary loan librarian.

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