Ashley Ireland’s groundbreaking research into the high-tech “Google Generation’s” information gathering methods earned her a trip abroad.
This spring, the 2001 Henry County High School graduate was invited to present her findings at the Literacy Annual Conference in Cardiff, Wales.
“There was a lot of publicity calling this college-age generation lazy,” she said, “and unable to think critically.”
Ireland feels this generation is conditioned to instant information, but members of the group and future generations can learn good reference skills. “They think a product is outdated if it doesn’t provide an instant reference,” she said.
Ireland hopes papers like hers may bring awareness to the potential gap in students’ research skills.
Ireland, a Murray State University Library reference librarian/assistant professor, said the theory posits that because they can obtain everything they want anytime they want through such web services as iTunes, Netflix and eBay, these students “apply what they know about availability of items to availability of information.”
Following high school, Ireland attended Murray State and then the University of Kentucky. She obtained a B.A. in English literature and sociology and a M.S. in library science.
Ashley’s mother, Vickie Ireland said her daughter has always loved the library.
“She has always been a bookworm,” she said. “Before we moved to Pendleton we lived four houses down from the library in Eminence.”
Vickie Ireland said Ashley was disappointed by the Duerson Library in LaGrange following the move. “Even though the Oldham County library was closer she did her research in Henry County.”
Ashley Ireland said she misses Henry County and its library. “I’d love to move back to Henry County,” she said, “but the new librarian is doing a great job.”
Vickie Ireland said she and Ashley’s dad, Brian Ireland miss her. “I’m very sorry she’s living clear across the state,” she said, “and I think she’ll end up in an even bigger library at a bigger university.”
Vickie Ireland said Ashley has met and exceeded all of her parents’ expectations. “Her dad and I are both so proud of her,” she said. “She’s 24 and accomplished so much.”
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