Spring Break and A Good Workshop

I didn’t write a post last week because I was on vacation. We had Spring Break here on campus and I had the opportunity to stay in a condo on the beach for free, so it worked out well. I was on campus for the first two and a half days of last week though, and some interesting things happened. On Tuesday of last week I attended the first part of a workshop from the TLT Group called “It Takes Librarians and Faculty: Using Project Information Literacy to Improve Student Research Skills”. I attended the second half of the workshop this past Tuesday. It was led by Steven Bell from Temple University and it discussed the results and implication of the results of the studies done by Project Information Literacy. Today I watched a video of a presentation by Alison Head, the creator of Project Information Literacy, which summarizes the main findings of the five studies. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who works with college students.

The workshop was awesome and got me thinking about better ways to communicate with faculty and about how I can work with students more successfully. One of the main takeaways I got from the workshop and presentation was that faculty may not relate to the term “information literacy” or appreciate what librarians are trying to convey when we use it. I got some good ideas for faculty workshops that I will likely try to implement in the future. I’m doing two faculty workshops on our new video services in the next two weeks, and I’d like to try to plan at least one more before the end of the semester. One point that Alison Head made often is that the same skills and frustrations apply to scholarly research and real life research. I’ve made a point in my classes recently to convey this message to students and remind them that what I’m teaching them can be used for more than just school research.

Project Information Literacy has done 5 studies in total, and the one I found most interesting was the handout study. As I’ve gotten more comfortable on campus I’ve been asking instructors for copies of their handouts before I teach their classes. I also ask students with reference questions if I can read their assignment so that we make sure we’re looking for the right information. I’ve been surprised by how bad some of the instructions are, and the results of the handout study were satisfying because I’ve realized that this is something librarians are dealing with nationwide. One speaker at the workshop discussed an intensive day-long handout workshop she did with faculty, and I might try to do something similar and shorter here. I’m very glad I was able to attend this workshop and I’m looking forward to the next Project Information Literacy study.

The day I left for my trip was Pi day and I worked just over half of that day. We closed the library from 11-1 for staff development and to eat pie in celebration of Pi day. We started by meeting in our library classroom so I could go through our new website page by page with our library staff and to take comments from them about changes and additions that could be made. I also let them know that during our pie feast we’d be taking part in a game called Two Truths. The game is a common icebreaker but it seemed like no one had done it before. After we ate our savory pies we each told 3 facts about ourselves: 2 truths and 1 lie. Then we had to try to figure out which fact was a lie. It went very well and I learned something about each person on our staff. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and I think it was a good morale booster.

This week has been busy. I came back on Tuesday and spent most of that day catching up on what I’d missed. Yesterday I taught an English class in the morning and had the first meeting with my ACRL committee in the afternoon. It was a great meeting and I’m excited to be working with some new people and some colleagues I’ve met at conferences. We have to put together a proposal by May 1st and yesterday we picked our topic. We used Elluminate to meet and it’s the first time I’ve used that interface. It seemed to work well for our needs and I am glad to get some new experiences.

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