Monthly Archives: February 2011

Should every librarian be on Twitter?

Technology is always changing. Librarians should go where the users are, but some librarians refuse to join in. I know people become complacent, and comfortable in their roles. This made me ask the question: Should every librarian be on Twitter? I know some librarians feel that there library does not need a Facebook page or a Twitter account, because they think their users are not using social media. As a librarian we should know what is happening with new technologies, and be able to teach it to our users when asked. I know we cannot master every new technology and gadget. I do not know every technology, but I never back down to anything new. If a student has questions about a new technology or software I take a few minutes to learn the basics. Then explain to them how to use it. Even if you chose not to participate new technologies will be developed. They will be used by your fellow librarians and library patrons.

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How can librarians improve student success

The recent news of the national search for new Presidents for six of the City Colleges of Chicago has led me to think about many issues. Four goals for student success have been injected into the new job description of the Presidents of the City Colleges of Chicago. Those four goals are:

  • “Increasing the number of students who earn college credentials of value.”
  • “Increasing the rate of transfer to bachelor’s degree programs following CCC graduation.”
  • “Significantly improving outcomes for students requiring remediation.”
  • “Increasing the number and share of ABE/GED/ESL students who advance to and succeed in college-level courses.”

After receiving this news in my inbox I began to think about how I could improve student success. As a librarian and an Adjunct faculty member of the City Colleges of Chicago it is my responsibility to make sure our students succeed as well.

I interact with students ever time I come to work. I help them with their assignments, teach them how to use library resources such as databases, and try to motivate them. I am beginning to think I can do more. I sit at the reference desk and I do classroom instruction when requested by faculty members. Why don’t we do workshops? Workshops about writing citations and bibliographies, teaching students how to use new technologies such as social media, how to do research on the internet, or use Microsoft Office. I help students on an individual basis, but making it known to all students I am here to help.

Okay, just spoke to Head of Reference and it is on. The workshop idea has been well received. I am thinking workshops at the end of my shift would be more beneficial students. Students will be getting off of work, or out of class.

I think I lost them!

My second instruction session went fine. It did not go as well as the first. The instructor was sitting in the back of the room on a computer. Some the students were talking. We were in the computer lab. So, I walked up and down the aisles to make sure they were following me. We searched the library catalog, I showed them subject headings, and we searched the Literature Resource Center database. The class was English 101. I created a blog, and discussed the more relevant databases we subscribe to at Wright. Here is the blog I created http://libraryorientation.wordpress.com/recommended-databases/. We discussed e-books, and how to search the library catalog for them. I showed them how to find full-text and scholarly journal articles in the databases. I gave them a library tour. They were really into the New York Times on microfilm dating back to 1851. One student wanted to take a look. They have an assignment where they have to print out a page from our set.

What made this session strange is the instructor’s insistence that I show the students reference books. Of course, I kept publicize our electronic databases which contain encyclopedias such as Gale Virtual Reference Library. She did not like this. So, I pulled books of the shelf. I showed them encyclopedias about religion, Chicago history, you name it! She wanted the students to make a list of 25 random reference books. I asked if she wanted me to help them search the library catalog to find item in the computer lab. She said she wanted them to walk up and down the aisles. I really lost the students when I started to pull books off the shelf.

During this instruction session the students were talking to their neighbors. So, I have decided to break the students into groups. They will search for books and articles. I created a library exercise on my library orientation blog. Hopefully, this works out the next time. I will let you know how it goes.

Image from: http://callitaweasel.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/bored-students.jpg?w=280&h=210

First Instruction Session Ever!

I started to give instruction sessions to students a couple of weeks ago. My first session went well. They were foundational students that needed to know the basics. They needed to know how to log into Blackboard, get their assignments, post assignments, comment, and send their classmates email. A few of them did not know how to access their email. So, I showed them where to log in on Wright College’s website. This was necessary because their professor would be sending them emails about the course. I gave them a tour of the library which went well. At first a few of them were talking, but as I got more involved they started to pay more attention. Luckily, they had an assignment so it made it easy to show them how to search the databases and library catalog. The assignment was African-American biographies. I taught them how to search Biographies Plus Illustrated for background information and peer-reviewed articles.