Monday, January 31, 2011

Week Four: Four Weeks Already?! Haikus, Collection Development, Research, and Web Content

It's hard for me to believe it has already been four weeks since I began my internship here at UD!

Last week was the kickoff week for RES 104. Becky Canovan, Reference and Instruction Librarian, has been working tirelessly to prepare the first set in a series of instruction sessions for this course. The librarians join each section of RES 104 (13 on campus sections, and one online section) six times throughout the semester to assist them with the research and writing process. The first round of sessions introduces the research process as it relates to the students' first paper covering social science topics.

The librarians here give each other the opportunity to observe (for the benefit of both the person rehearsing the instruction, and for those observing to be more comfortable with the content and approach before jumping into teaching). Becky ran through the Res104 Day 1 lesson (she is teaching all of the Day 1s and the Days 2 and 3 are divided between all of the librarians). She put together a creative first day incorporating various technologies as well as a haiku matching game where the students matched example topics to the prepared haikus (you can learn more about them in her blog post, click here). I was able to observe the first two (of three) of the social science sessions for one of the sections (with the third observation taking place later this week), taught by Becky. It was interesting to see (even between just the first two sessions) the difference in the ways the students responded to the instruction. I could see them connecting the ideas presented in the first session to the initial/exploratory research in the second section, as they looked to see if their proposed research questions were viable. I loved going around, helping students refine their searches and topics, asking questions and offering suggestions to help them be more successful.

This past week, Anne Marie and I also had the opportunity to discuss the collection development practices in a bit more in depth. Each librarian is responsible for approximately four different liaison areas. As is the case in many libraries, when purchasing for their liaison areas, the librarians welcome suggestions from faculty and students. The faculty suggestions are particularly key when purchasing in subject areas that are not the librarian's subject of specialty. In addition to faculty suggestions, librarians consider how the curriculum is changing, and whether the selections may serve multiple areas. Anne Marie gave examples of her selection and deselection processes, though weeding tends to fall to the bottom of the list behind instruction, public services, and selecting new items. Weeding happens, typically in the summers when the library is less busy, when space becomes an issue; deselection policies vary with department standards.

I was able to complete the WV2 prep (though some professors have yet to submit their partnering organizations to us so we can prepare the slides), update discussion threads on Moodle for the instruction sessions, and observe at the reference desk. As it was still early in the semester (only three days into the term), there were only a handful of reference questions, allowing Anne Marie and I the opportunity to discuss another one of the core classes, English 101 (ENG 101).

The design of ENG 101 is different than that of any other course I've seen, in that students are developing critical thinking, evaluation, and thesis developing skills through the writing of essentially the same research paper for the entire class. The students are learning about the research writing process and, rather than complicate or distract the students from the elements of this process, the students are presented with the same resources; as a class they evaluate the resources, formulate a class thesis, and compile the same bibliography. The students then write their own research paper using the resources from the class. The pedagogical idea is that the students are there to learn the process, not get bogged down in the resources or the last minute habits that seem to plague younger college students. By emphasizing the process and grading along the way, the students are able to better understand the building blocks of writing and connect that process to future classes (RES 104) where they complete the research, evaluation, thesis writing, and paper writing process independently. The librarians participate in a two-week unit (4-5 class days) in which the students examine the same articles (popular, scholarly), discuss, develop research questions as a class, break into smaller groups and complete a similar process for other articles, discuss answers as a class, develop a thesis/argument, and discuss how to read a scholarly article.

This week was another week where I came in on Friday to participate in meetings and instruction session observations. We had a meeting to discuss one area of the UD library's web page, the "How Do I?" page. What began as a quick reference has gotten bogged down with text, and is not necessarily presenting the information in a concise or organized fashion. We discussed:

What are the goals of the page? Is it a teaching tool? Should it not duplicate what we do in the classroom? Or should it present the same information, but in a "Reader's Digest" form? Do we want to include podcasts/screencasts? Who is our target audience (on campus students, distance students, those needing help with the research process, faculty, all)?

The plan is to look at other library web pages (including public libraries) to see how they present their FAQ or "How do I?" pages, whether it is presented in database form or browsable form or both, examine mobile interfaces, and look at best practices for libraries.

This week I'll be shadowing in several areas of the library and continuing to observe classroom instruction sessions.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Article Discussion: Instruction 2.0 - What are we actually doing?

The past few weeks I have begun working on a longer post discussing Delicious (Yahoo’s bookmarking product). In the meantime, I keep finding other articles that peak my emerging-technology interests. The next few posts discuss such examples.


Bobish, G. (2010). Instruction 2.0 - What are we actually doing?. Communications in Information Literacy, 4(1). Retrieved January 26, 2011, from


Bobish begins with an elementary discussion of web 2.0 and its use in library instruction. Who can we as instructors incorporate these tools more widely and what is currently being utilized by librarians and (in this case) college students? He describes "Library 2.0" as something that is constantly changing to meet the needs of users, developing an interactive approach to librarianship using web-based tools. Throughout the article, user participation is emphasized as a key element of Library 2.0.

The partnering of Web 2.0 and instruction is a good match in that the services libraries offer should reflect the needs of their patrons. In this case, the use of Library 2.0 tools in library instruction takes the service-minded model and orients it toward instruction.
A vast majority of teens use the internet and over two-thirds have created some sort of online content. Students expect interactivity from all aspects of their life, not just when they are gaming or instant messaging (IMing) their friends. Incorporating these interactive aspects into their education is something colleges around the country are actively promoting. By making learning interactive, the students are not only becoming more intrinsically motivated to complete learning tasks, they are also allowed to share their learning with others.

In the literature review the author discusses how 2.0 tools can help students develop information literacy skills, in keeping with ACRL's InfoLit standards. Examples include student-created wikis, blogging, Flikr, web-based tutorials, and IM.

But how exactly are these technologies incorporated? Are they used just so the institution can boast of their technological savvy? Or, are these technologies used to support the educational mission of the institution? Rather than providing practical ideas for application in an academic library setting, the author visits academic libraries' instruction websites and examines their Library 2.0 offerings.

Bobish examined 122 ARL websites, looking for publicly available Web 2.0 tools specifically tied to library instruction. The following tools were focused on during this examination:
  • IM
  • Media
  • Interactive Content
  • Plug-ins/Widgets
  • RSS Feeds
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Media Sharing
  • Student-Created Content
  • Social Networking
  • Gaming
  • Second Life
The author looked for the answers to the following questions (about each of the tools listed above):
  1. Is it there?
  2. Is it publicly accessible? If not what login/affiliation is required?
  3. What is the level of interactivity/participation?
Instant Message (IM)

The author found IM employed by the most libraries, most in conjunction with the library's reference services. Very few required logins (those institutions that did, used email information); most used widgets like Meebo. An interesting point that was made about IM use was that, in order for IM to be used as widely as possible, it needed to be embedded on every page of the library's website, as opposed to just on the main page.


When the author spoke of Media earlier in the article, I was curious to see how he defined it in relation to library instruction--particularly as the article is emphasizing interaction with students. While nearly half of the libraries had some form of media within their instruction webpage (considered to be video, flash, screen-capture tutorials, podcasts, and audio tutorials), the level of interaction was minimal at best. Many of the pieces were librarian created with a similar approach to lecture-based instruction, simply made available online. The author questions if it is really Library 2.0 if it is not truly interactive.

Interactive Content

The author admits to the vagueness of the title of this category, as virtually all Library 2.0 tools are meant to be interactive. The items found took the form of tutorials or reviews. One thing of interest was that, though none of these tutorials required logins to be viewed, in some cases students could log in and receive course credit for viewing. Some of the tutorials were simple "slick-through tutorials with quizzes; the author adds that modifying the permissions on the activities to allow students “to contribute examples, comments, or questions to these tutorials would be a way to start allowing more substantial interaction.” Understandably, some may be hesitant to give up the control of the content or take on the time-consuming task of monitoring the content. Bobish offers the following to those who are hesitant: "students could be allowed to download and remix the tutorials and then submit them for review in a special section of the site” and then reviewed by the professor to determine whether the student-created content would be featured and made available to all students.

Plug-ins or Widgets

Examples of Plug-ins and Widgets include things like bibliographic tools (Zotero) and catalog search boxes. While some library catalogs did require logins, most of these applications were simply discussed (i.e. how to use Zotero in your research) as opposed to embedded as an integral part of web-based library instruction. Many of the pages that had Plug-ins or Widgets simply linked to the applications rather than allow direct access. Rather than completely redesign the library's website, many allowed the links and information provided to serve as an introduction to the tool. For libraries looking for a small (file size and visually) way to incorporate free technologies into their webpages


RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and allows users to follow new announcements or changes to various websites by "subscribing" to the changes. RSS is available without having a login, those interested in subscribing do need a way to subscribe (i.e. Google Reader). Most libraries used this as a way to subscribe to announcements about tutorials, podcasts, etc. but some also incorporated research aspects using RSS to subscribe to database updates or newsfeeds.


This portion of the article contained the basics of library blog use (i.e. using blogs as an easily updated website, linking to blogs, etc.) but also introduced me to Technorati, a blog index ( Technorati not only indexes blogs, it also compiles lists of the most popular blogs, highlights blogging trends, topics, and tags.

Interactivity with the blogs was restricted to commenting on posts, but that often required a login. Most were used as a way to broadcast Instruction news. The author suggested using polls or questions about the content presented either in class or during instruction sessions.


Wikis are useful for collaborative creation of content. Seven of 122 pages had wikis as a part of their Instruction web page; one instruction web page was a wiki. Again, many of the pages limited interaction by simply discussing wikis or using them as a subject-guide page. In order to edit any of the wiki content, logging in was required, but were able to view content without logging in. Bobish recognizes the library's need to monitor content, but recommends an area of the wiki that is a student area where content could be added and considered for placement within the main sections of the wiki. This would allow for questions to be asked and for the students to share their perspectives and helpful tips with each other and with the librarians.

Social Bookmarking

Folksonomy was discussed briefly by Bobish, noting that the creation of labels by the users themselves may help add to the richness and relevancy of some resources, as opposed to simply using subject headings or library jargon. Students could tag pages for certain types of classes, assignments, or types of research. The tags can then serve as resource guides for classes.

Media Sharing

In this instance, media sharing is described as "creating media and then making it available for others to download, remix, or share," as opposed to compiling links to others' content. One example is TILT, the Texas Information Literacy Tutorial. This can be downloaded and customized by any school, but is primarily used by librarians (as opposed to students adding content). Other examples are using Creative Commons content to create tutorials, videos, etc. The Animated Tutorial Sharing Project allows librarians to share various tutorials and other tech-related instruction ideas. According to the ANTS Project website, "Recognizing that creating and updating Tutorials for each online resource is a daunting task for any library to undertake on its own, librarians in COPPUL got together to find a way to share in their development. This project is an outgrowth of that initiative and our goal is to create a critical mass of Open Source Tutorials for online resources used by libraries everywhere."

Student/User-Contributed Content

Five of 122 schools featured student-created videos or tutorials, or had student feedback forms. For the videos, much of the interaction with students came prior to the information being uploaded to the page (i.e. during the production stages). Allowing for student comments would provide valuable feedback to the librarians, however, monitoring comment content is a time consuming task.

Social Networking, Gaming, & Second Life

While many libraries have social networking presences (i.e. Facebook), only three instruction web pages had a Facebook presence. Gaming was only used by Ohio State, for their "Head Hunt" game, which is highly interactive and combines basic library policies/skills with campus knowledge. No library instruction pages incorporated Second Life into their user experiences. This last point does not surprise me, as I see Second Life as more of a leisurely for users, as opposed to something they would incorporate into their library pursuits.

Comparing Reality to Literature

This section was particularly interesting. The author examined the emphasis of Library 2.0 in the literature and compared it to the reality of incorporating 2.0 tools in daily instructional practice. The discussion in literature far outweighed the practice reflected by instruction websites. “A basic search in the LISTA database reveals that social networking, gaming, and Second Life are written about disproportionately to their actual presence on library instruction websites." There are several considerations when comparing the two data sets. When examining literature, the author did not limit the search to just instruction articles, stating many of the ideas shared in other articles could easily be adapted to suit instruction practices. It was encouraging to see that most libraries have adopted at least one of the technologies listed above in their instruction practices.

A caveat of incorporating new technologies is the time it takes to maintain (i.e. monitoring comments, upgrades, training librarians and students, etc.). One must carefully consider the technology to see if it aligns clearly with their pedagogical standards, weighing the pros and cons. Some technologies, such as the game from Ohio State, require a significant time commitment and expertise whereas others, such as wikis and blogs, can be done fairly quickly and easily.

“The key, both for instructional success and for institutional support, is to find ways of connecting the benefits of the tools to recognized instructional objectives.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week Three: Circulation to Orientation and Everything in Between

In addition to projects preparing for spring semester instruction sessions, I get the opportunity to shadow in various departments around the library. Monday’s job shadow was in the Circulation Department with Jaimie Shaffer, Circulation Supervisor. Not only did I get a great behind-the-scenes look at the circulation desk and all of the wonderful things they do there, I also got a behind-the-scenes perspective on things like hiring & supervising student workers, training employees to work with the public, circulation and reserve policies (and how they have changed to accommodate the needs of the patrons and the collection), working with faculty, and working with the local community.

In my library teaching philosophy I write, “I see librarians as educators, organizers, facilitators, collaborators, preservers, outreach experts, and public servants. Above all else, librarians are people who care and who want to help others.” I can see that portrayed through the actions of those at the Circulation Desk, and I was impressed by the emphasis Jaimie put on service as we were conversing about the various duties the Circulation Department performs. Much of what they do is what one might think of as “typical circ desk work:” checking books in and out, fixing the copy machine, answering basic questions about where some things are in the library (i.e. bathroom, newspapers, etc.), pulling materials to be put on reserve, and shelving materials. During times when the reference desk is not manned, the circulation staff will help out with some reference work (where things are located, or basic catalog or database help) and some technology help (printers, copy machines, etc.).

Every two hours one of the circulation student workers enters statistics as they conduct a visual sweep of specific areas in the library. These are compiled periodically and used for reporting to the university as well as ACRL. They also reshelve non-circulating materials and keep track of in-house use (again, for reporting). There are a few special areas behind the desk where certain materials are kept. Though many professors are using electronic reserves, there are still some physical copies of materials kept on the reserves shelf. Students and faculty can also request certain items to be held for them behind the desk until they are able to come in and check them out (similar to my experiences at a public library). A few course reserve items are kept in the supervisor’s office, particularly DVDs needed for class, because of scheduling or other problems in the past. These items are not only put on reserve, but they are also scheduled at certain times for class viewing.

Throughout the week I continued to work on researching/prepping for spring semester courses (specifically World View II and Research 104). I’ve also begun orienting myself with Moodle (here they call it UDOnline), adding discussion forum topics for upcoming WV2 classes. Doing the behind-the-scenes work helps me feel more comfortable with what I will be helping to teach in the coming weeks. Not only am I learning more about the research topics (local charities in WV2 and the Mississippi River basin in Res 104), I am also learning more about the courses and what is expected of the students.

Speaking of getting ready for the spring semester: Hello InfoLit scheduling! Talk about a puzzle! As I may have mentioned before, UD incorporates Information Literacy as a part of their core curriculum. That means they do a lot of library instruction (and by a lot I mean over 500 IL sessions per year spread between five librarians—yep, a lot). I was able to participate in the meeting where the first few weeks of instruction are divided. First, before anything can be done, Anne Marie and Becky (a reference and instruction librarian) worked on entering all of the sessions from all of the classes into a spread sheet, keeping in mind: course times, instruction session needs (i.e. computer equipment, access to library print materials, etc.), room schedules, requested times, and instructors. Once that is taken care of, the librarians are able to sign up for various sessions. They traditionally sign up to work with professors with whom they already have a working relationship (whether through past instruction experience or through liaison work); after that it is first come, first served. I am excited to be putting myself into the instruction rotation! My schedule for the week of February 7 is full of assisting with some lessons and taking charge of others (woo hoo!).

On Wednesday, a few of us met to discuss the Career Services component they are adding for library student workers. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the students are offered one hour of paid time to meet with one of the Career Services representatives. They may meet with her to discuss a wide range of career-related topics: résumés, cover letters , graduate school applications, job applications, and mock interviews. This spring semester will serve as a trial, but they are heavily encouraging all of their undergraduate student workers to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity (getting paid to meet with a career counselor (when others have to pay career counselors for similar services? It’s a win-win situation!). We discussed marketing these services to the student workers and modified a brochure from the career center to fit the needs of this new program.

I deviated from my regular schedule, putting in an extra day on Friday, so I could participate in new student orientation. The library hosted 3 hour-long sessions for incoming students. The time was divided between the technology orientation and the library orientation. In each session the same technology person presented information on the basics of using UD technology (how to set up your laptop, which anti-virus software programs are required, saving files/downloads, and accessing various accounts). It turns out, the tech. person is also a great library supporter and is on the Board of Trustees of the local public library. I plan on contacting him about doing some volunteering there. The library portion was a basic introduction to the library and was delivered by three different librarians, giving me time to observe their different teaching styles. Again, the information presented was pretty basic, but crucial to early success at UD. The biggest emphasis, in all three sessions, was that the librarians are here to help you (whether it be finding an article in a database, finding your way across campus, or finding a nearby convenience store).

My favorite part of the day came at the very end. One student missed the first part of the session (covering technology). We were just at the start of the log-in process, so I made it a point to stick close to her, helping her get on track with what the rest of the class was doing, but also wandering to make sure the others were able to log in. She was doing fine, I just had to help her figure out her password and she was off and rolling. As the session wrapped up, I asked her if she wanted to stay an extra couple of minutes to catch up on what she missed. We joked about the cold weather, and I asked her where she was transferring from (California). After covering the information about laptops, connecting to the UD network, and anti-virus software we went back and looked at Moodle (she was familiar with Blackboard, which I used as an undergrad at Luther). I explained that the folks at the library are always here to help. By the end I think she felt a lot more comfortable with the material, the library, and with her decision to transfer to UD (from sunny southern California...during the coldest time of year! What a shock to the system!). I’m glad I was able to take a little extra time to make a connection with a student. I can’t wait to do even more of this!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Article 2: Librarians as Agents of Change: Working with Curriculum Committees Using Change Agency Theory

Travis, T. A. (2008). Librarians as agents of change: Working with curriculum committees using change agency theory. New Directions for Teaching & Learning, 2008(114), 17-33. doi:10.1002/tl.314

Barriers to integrating information literacy (IL) into the general curriculum include an unclear understanding of IL, ineffective methods of assessment of IL skills, a lack of ownership for IL instruction, and university culture. Librarians may not be seen as integral parts of classroom learning. IL is possible when its definition is understood as a way of thinking, and is seen as a liberal art, as opposed to just a skill set. California State University, Long Beach (SCULB) began the process of integrating IL by applying Change Agent Theory. The campus participated in a review of the general education policy, was preparing for an upcoming accreditation review, and there was increased interest in student-centered learning, indicating the campus would be receptive to incorporating IL efforts. Integration efforts began with the development, articulation, and shared vision of the intended change. SCULB received administrative support and grant funding to support the planning and implementation of IL integration. The grant supported those who took part in pilot projects or received additional job responsibilities. Progress was monitored, librarians were on every academic committee, and IL advocates were on key committees. The Director of IL and Outreach provided assistance, supporting the needs of faculty. Programs were also put in place to create a community of practice. Key elements of integrating IL into the general curriculum were that efforts aligned with the university’s goals, change agents and early adopters were prominent on committees and within their departments, and data provided evidence-based examples of increased IL skills.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Article 1: The Reference Librarian as Non-Expert: A Postmodern Approach to Expertise

Stover, M. (2004). The reference librarian as non-expert: A postmodern approach to expertise. The Reference Librarian, 42(87), 273-300. doi:10.1300/J120v42n87_10

In the postmodern approach to librarianship, emphasis is placed on communication and relationships between librarians and patrons. Subject knowledge, traditional information seeking skills, and the modern view of expertise fall secondary to the librarian’s communication, social psychological, reference interview, and non-verbal skills when assisting patrons with their research needs. Import is placed upon a mutual respect between librarian and patron, and the ability to adjust reference research practices based on his/her needs (as opposed to the quest for “ultimate truth” on a topic). Jargon and an air of superiority (wherein expertise equals power) obstruct patron understanding of and comfort with librarian assistance and can lead to ineffective research and also a negative patron experience, hindering future interaction. Postmodern librarianship lends itself to a partnership between librarian and patron, seeking information in a shared manner. Including information literacy as a part of the services librarians provide will empower patrons to research independently in the future.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week Two: Let the Projects Begin!

This past week I was able to participate in a few meetings and complete some projects (while starting a few others).

Monday was mostly a day for project work. The librarians here have begun preparing for spring instruction sessions, particularly Introduction to Research Writing 104 (Res104) and World View II: Self and Society (WV2). The description for WV2 is:
In this interdisciplinary experiential learning format, students and faculty address significant issues that challenge contemporary American culture. We analyze these issues and discuss how our values and faith shape our responses to them. This course focuses on the themes of citizenship, social values and vocation (University of Dubuque, 2009, p. 14).
This course is required for graduation, and has traditionally been done during the second semester of the students’ sophomore year. It will be interesting for me to see the difference between the J-term sections of this course and the spring semester sections. As I may have mentioned earlier, this January is the first time UD has tried J-term. UD has introduced new courses and adapted others to fit the time-frame. WV2 was one of the classes for which the target student audience has changed. Instead of sophomores completing the class (as is traditionally done in their sophomore year’s spring semester), freshmen were required to take WV2 during J-term. Each class will present on their associated charity/non-profit to all other sections of WV2. I am curious what the librarians think of the final outcome as compared to the product put out by the sophomore classes.

As part of my project work I did some pre-searching, finding articles on the course topic (primarily local charities or non-profits). Because of the local, service-oriented nature of this course, many of the articles were found in the Telegraph Herald, the local newspaper. In order to do our best to present a balanced view of the charities, we present positive and negative press (in the form of quotes on our presentation slides). The students are learning to consider the authority and bias of authors.

Another course I began helping with was Res104. In this course,
Students will conduct introductory research and write papers in three areas: the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Students will work closely with their professor and a reference librarian as they frame research questions, differentiate among various disciplines’ research techniques, explore and analyze scholarly and professional resources, and write clear, effective papers on topics in the three disciplines (University of Dubuque, 2009, p. 13).
One of the librarians has been preparing for the class by pulling relevant books, preparing Prezi and PowerPoint presentations, and brainstorming relevant topic examples. This spring, Res104 is covering the Mississippi River Watershed (containing areas ranging from Montana to Ohio, North Dakota to Oklahoma and, of course, Louisiana). In past years they have rotated between other areas of the world. My work was to go through the brainstormed list of relevant topics to see if there were enough resources for students to make it a viable topic for their research. While fascinating, this is does also tend to be a time-consuming process. The time it takes to do the research is well worth it if it helps a student be successful in their research. We don’t present the student with the research we’ve done, by any means, but what we do helps us know whether a topic will work for students or if it might be best to steer the student in another direction.

On Tuesday, I participated in a few meetings. The first was an Info Lit meeting, discussing the WV2 J-term sessions presented the week before. Overall the feedback has been positive, both from the librarians/faculty perspective and from the student perspective (which was something we were all holding our breath about, as it’s the first time for J-term and the first time it has been a requirement for freshmen. There were a few miscommunications with professors (some not staying for their classes instruction session or some misreading the instruction schedule) but, for the most part, things went well and when the library instructors encountered the unexpected, they were flexible and adjusted their instruction strategies as necessary. Some things to keep in mind for future J-term classes is that (because the students are meeting in multiple places for the same class, changing locations throughout the day) there were some lost students, so perhaps making sure their Moodle page reflects their locations and times would be helpful.

Another thing we discussed during the meeting was the staffing of the reference desk. Unsure as to when the busiest times would be, Anne Marie examined both the seminary schedule and the J-term schedule to see when class breaks were. By manning it during the 11-1 and 3-5 timeslots, we have found the majority of the reference work happens (particularly from 11-1). The librarians decided to leave the reference schedule the same for the rest of J-term and do a more formal assessment of the reference interactions upon the completion of J-term.

I also met with a Career Services Center representative, Trina. The library has proposed adding a career development component to their current student employment practices wherein students are given the opportunity to consult with Trina as part of their paid employment (allowing for one hour of paid time for this). Though it’s still in the works, this opportunity would allow students to receive services such as career assessment and counseling, resume/cover letter assistance, consultations for awards/scholarships, assistance with graduate school preparations, and interview preparation assistance. During our meeting we discussed some of the work I did, as one of the employees staring up the SLIS Career Center, and hammered out some of the logistics (i.e. a spreadsheet with student names, contact information, etc.) and also talked about the upcoming Career Week (Feb. 21-25) display/programming.

Another fun project I worked on was the Education Blog, covering the recently announced winners of various children’s book/author awards. You can read it here: That was particularly interesting to me, as it tied in my coursework from a course I took last semester, “Materials for Youth.”

I almost forgot to mention that I've been doing some collection development work, recommending titles for purchase. Anne Marie purchases for several different liaison departments and wanted me to look through some lists (i.e. Choice Reviews, etc.) to find "the best titles of 2010" to be added to the UD collection (as long as they fall within the scope of the collection). I've begun looking at Natural & Applied Sciences materials, adding them to the pre-purchase cart (to be reviewed more closely) in Books in Print. It's always fascinating to see the new information being presented (or old information being presented in a new way). I even found a few titles to add to my (ever-growing) Goodreads list!

As I’m sure is the case in many places, a lot of informal training and professional learning happens in those interactions that aren’t planned or specific to one area of librarianship. Some of the most valuable learning happens when you’re chatting with a colleague in the hallway, or you just happen to pop into their office to see what’s new in their area, or you pass someone going to lunch as you’re just coming from lunch. It’s nice to be in an environment where this happens on a regular basis.

University of Dubuque. (2009). Undergraduate Catalog. Dubuque, Iowa.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week One: Orientation and the Start of a Good Thing

It’s official! I have a name badge and everything. Last Monday I began my internship experience at University of Dubuque (UD)! My supervisor, Anne Marie Gruber, and I had been communicating quite a bit prior to the start of the semester (working on a couple of conference presentation applications and simply getting things in order) so were able to jump right in to library/UD orientation. I took a walking tour of the Charles C. Myers Library and was able to meet the wonderful librarians and staff along the way. Of course I was curious to learn how things are done at UD, so I asked many questions as we went...Circulation policies (do they vary with certain collections or populations?), study room use (do they need to check out a key or reserve the rooms?), course management software (Sakai? Moodle? – In case you’re wondering, they use Moodle.), reserves (do professors put their own reserves up or does the library?)...

Anne Marie also shared with me some UD history and information about various programs of study. Some programs unique to UD (especially for a school this size) are Aviation and Flight Operations, as well as the Theological Seminary’s offerings for graduate studies.

After our tour we were able to take care of some paperwork (human relations, parking, identification and library card, emergency contact information, etc.) and technology. We spent some time going over log-ins, accessing shared network storage, and we talked a lot about UDOnline (Moodle). I’m excited to learn more about how Moodle works and about customization options. We have been trying to figure out a way to use an HTML form (with PHP) so that students can fill it out and submit the information to both themselves and the librarian (though, from what I’ve found on various Moodle forums, I think the PHP might be an issue…I plan on picking some folks’ brains to see if it’s an option, as the last forum post I could find addressing this was from 2008—Hopefully things have been updated).

We took care of some goal-setting (listed at the very bottom of the post) and established a weekly schedule. Over the next few days I was able to observe some Info Lit sessions with World View 2 (WV2) classes. This January is the first time UD has done J-term classes for their undergraduate students (though the Seminary students have had J-term for some time), and it has been a little bit of a transition for the students and the faculty. For the most part the sessions went smoothly and the sessions I observed helped me to better understand the instructors’ and librarians’ expectations for the students.

Each course was tailored to the service organization (or population) the class was serving. All of the library instructors had the same basic presentation template, but incorporated specific resources and strategies to connect the students to the organization (i.e. Big Brothers, Big Sisters; local nursing homes; local public parks). The instructors each brought their own style to the instruction session, but kept in mind the objectives of the class: What do we know; what do we want to know; conduct search; use the questions provided to help guide your search (the students were divided into five groups with five questions for each group to answer about their organization); if there is still information we don’t know, let’s formulate questions to ask the organization’s representative the next time you are in contact with them. Each instruction session utilized Moodle to collect the students’ findings. I noticed the students were particularly engaged when their professor was in the room, wandering along with the librarian, checking on groups as they worked. This emphasized the usefulness of the IL session and reinforced to the students that the information they were finding was something they would be using in their final presentation (to all of the other sections of WV2, around 400 students).

I also was able to sit in on a meeting with a professor and librarian as they discussed Research 104 (RES 104) for next semester (as it had been several years since the professor had last taught that course). Sitting in on the meeting really helped me to understand the professor’s perspective, along with the librarian’s role and view, of the course. UD incorporates information literacy into their core curriculum and RES 104 is an excellent example of showing how that is done. Throughout the semester all sections have six Info Lit sessions directed toward helping students understand how to best prepare, research, and present their scholarly ideas. The students prepare three research papers throughout the semester: one on a social science topic, one on a humanities topic, and one on a science topic. The library instructors go through several steps to help the students not only find quality resources, but to also understand the process of writing and properly citing the resources in their work.

Anne Marie also went through some of the library’s resources as I shadowed at the Reference Desk. We talked about the program used for the catalog (SirsiDynix Horizon) and went through their (open source) journal finder list, Gold Rush. We also talked about a few of the basics they use often with their undergraduate work (Academic Search Premiere, JSTOR, and LexisNexis), as well as some new or seminary-specific resources (new ones include Credo, e-books, and Films on Demand; a heavily-used database is American Theological Library Association’s ATLA Religion Database). UD also shares resources freely with Wartburg Theological Seminary, also in Dubuque, without having to submit ILL requests for every item. Instead the two libraries’ catalogs are linked and the items can be requested and delivered, or students may travel across town to retrieve the desired item.

I already started working on a few of the projects we discussed earlier, including doing some preliminary selecting for the purchase of print materials, working with recommended lists and Books in Print. This week holds more exciting adventures preparing for spring semester (including scheduling, preparing course presentations and research guides), shadowing various departments around the library, and working with the Career Center to discuss further supporting the library’s student workers.

All in all, week one gets two thumbs up from this intern, and I’m looking forward to learning more!

* Collaboratively design, deliver, and assess library instruction sessions
* Create learning tools using course management software to support course objectives and student learning
* Evaluate and implement various summative and formative assessment tools
* Support the research needs of students, faculty, and other library patrons through reference services, both in-person and virtual
* Assist with collection development and faculty support through liaison work
* Update and redesign webpages
* Assist with the refining of a new Information Literacy component in a required course, Introduction to Computers (CIS101)
* Initiate projects using a variety of open-source and emerging technologies
* Promote the library’s mission by assisting with programming, special events, and displays
* Participate in other professional development activities and staff meetings