I start a little early and I have been staying late. I suggested the workshops, and I want them to happen. I have to stay 30 minutes late and come in 15-20 minutes early to get all the promotional material completed. I don’t stay late expecting to get paid for it. I just really want to finish my work, and have a beautiful product. When I worked full-time it was difficult to get work done in an 8 hour day. Now, I am part-time and it is impossible to complete my work sitting at the reference desk. Of course, it comes with the territory. I was concerned I would be bored working part-time, but the students need my help. So, I am always busy.
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It is usually dead on Fridays, but it was buzzing around the reference and circulation desk. People had questions about today’s workshops. They wanted to know when the next workshops were going to be held because they had to go to class.
Two young men were walk-ins for citation writing workshop. The older gentlemen that attended the PowerPoint workshop wanted to take me to lunch. He was very grateful. I told him the library has not done a workshop since the early ’90s. I was worried no one would show up. He reassured me he needed the help, and was happy I had the workshops.
I had this horrible feeling last night as I was preparing for my workshops, that not one student would sign up. I dreaded looking at the sign up sheet this morning.
I know some of the students need help writing citations and creating PowerPoint presentations. Wednesday I spent an hour helping a young lady create 3 slides. There are only a few classes if any held on Friday. So, I was hoping I would get the people really struggling, or have assignments due today.
My worries were set aside when I saw that one person signed up for the PowerPoint 2007 workshop, and two people for the APA and MLA style writing workshop. Fridays are really dead, and the reference desk is slow. I had one tour of the library so far. Working part-time I have few responsibilities, and these workshops will keep me busy, help the students, and give me more experience. I am really happy they signed up. Lets see if they show up on this rainy day!
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!
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I was happy to have the young lady I helped on Monday return to tell me she really appreciated my help. I helped her with her research and her PowerPoint presentation.
She was amazed when I showed her how to insert a link and screenshot into her PowerPoint. She says she does not remember how I did it. She plans on coming back so I can explain it again. I tell the students I sit at the reference desk waiting for them to ask a question. Image from: http://tinyurl.com/4lnrgvq
I love helping the students. Some of them just want to get the minimum amount of info and run. Of course, some students flourish their faithful librarians with a thousand thank yous! They make it all worthwhile.
Yesterday, I began to help this student with research on the Coqui (frog) of Puerto Rico for her Speech class. She showered me with thank yous. Then a few minutes she returned worried she was disturbing me. Of course, I was happy to get a question at the reference desk. She was having trouble with her PowerPoint. She wanted to embed a YouTube video. Librarian to the rescue! She commented how I was so good at everything. I told her I was a student, and just graduated from Dominican U. in River Forest. She wants to go to school there, but was concerned about paying for tuition. I told her not to let that be an obstacle, and apply for scholarships. I suggested she call Dominican U. Again she showered me with more thank yous.
Since student goals for success have been incorporated into the Presidents’ of the City Colleges of Chicago job description I am always thinking about the students. I got the go ahead with the workshops. Now, I want to hold a workshop about financial and scholarship resources at the end of the semester. Also, get together a list of local 4-year colleges and the programs they offer to distribute.
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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.
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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.