Tag Archives: Databases

I love library instruction! It gives me a high.

It is official I am in love with library instruction. Those close to me in my personal life suggested I teach. I knew I was not cut out to be a school teacher!

When I talk about library resources I get all giddy! The first time I was scheduled to do a library class I was so excited. I did my hair, picked my outfit out, and left 2 hours early to get to work. Of course, my car broke down, and I never made it. 😦

I did not give up, and there were no obstacles for the next library class. I was so excited!

Today, I visited my first virtual classroom and it went well. I taught students how to find resources for their business law. The professor was even excited we had e-books! I am feeling really good right now.

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That reference interview took over an hour

Wright College Library Reference Desk

I am asked a lot of questions on a variety of subjects. I was really stumped for search terms to use in EBSCO and ProQuest for this student’s topic. The topic is rehabilitation and treatment of pedophiles on probation. I started with rehabilitation and pedophile, and a few things popped up. She already searched cognitive therapies. I needed to think about this without her staring at me at the reference desk. So, I told her I would continue to look, and check back with her. I can see her sitting at a computer station from the reference desk. She was advised to focus on the laws. Since it was an English course I decided to be more liberal with my search. Some of my search terms were: behavioral intervention and pedophilia, pharmacological interventions and pedophilia, Depo-Provera and pedophile, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone and pedophile, chemical castration, phallometric testing, and incarceration and pedophile. I removed the scholarly journal limiter and my results included articles from periodicals such as Time magazine.

I knew I was not going to get a break today. The young lady I tried to help before this student only spoke a little bit of English. Spanish was her first language. Luckily the Head of Reference was able to help her, and speak to her in Spanish.

Scorpion on my desk

On Monday, a student came to the reference desk 30 minutes before his class started. He needed information about scorpions. I asked the following questions:

“What class is this for?”

“Is there a scorpion in that container?”

He said the class was Speech, and his mother’s scorpion was in the container. Of course, this led to other librarians and staff getting involved. Everyone wanted to see the scorpion. He explained there were two additional scorpions at home. I looked in the stacks, and my colleague searched Gale Virtual Reference Library. I came back with nothing, but he was happy to see the information in the database. In the end, he got the information he needed and sped off to a computer to create his PowerPoint slides. Librarian’s to the rescue again!

Image from: http://picsicio.us/keyword/scorpions%20killer/

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