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As a relaxing summer is behind us and we are in a new academic year, everything goes back to a normal rhythm from Adagio to Andante. That means IL teaching activities pick up the tempo and are likely to accelerate to Allegro as semester progresses.
May I recommend a timely article, “Forty Ways to Survive IL Instruction Overload; Or, how to Avoid Teacher Burnout.”
Like recommended in the article, I sometimes play music by using audio files in PowerPoint to calm down/entertain/relax/wake up/energize my classes, “Sleep Away” at the beginning and “Kalimba” at the end.
Badia, Giovanna. “Forty Ways to Survive IL Instruction Overload; Or, how to Avoid Teacher Burnout.” College & Undergraduate Libraries (2017): 1-7.
Teaching information literacy (IL) sessions can be emotionally exhausting, especially when faced with a heavy instructional workload that requires repeating similar course content multiple times. This article lists forty practical, how-to strategies for avoiding burnout and thriving when teaching.
“Library anxiety” was identified thirty years ago when Constance A. Mellon of East Carolina University published her paper, “Library Anxiety: A Grounded Theory and Its Development,” [College & Research Libraries 47.2 (1986): 160-165. <http://crl.acrl.org/content/47/2/160.full.pdf>], describing college students feeling intimidated, embarrassed, and overwhelmed by libraries and librarians. Library literature has been enhanced by this topic since then.
The anxiety appears to be more common among freshman students. This phenomenon ascertains the importance of library instruction for first-year undergraduates, as well as calls for user-friendly learning environment. A recent report on Columbia libraries is fun to read: “The Strange Affliction of ‘Library Anxiety’ and What Librarians Do to Help” <http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-strange-affliction-of-library-anxiety-and-what-librarians-do-to-help>
A follow up for those interested, a video recording of the said talk is available now:
Daniel Russell of Google had a talk at School of Communication and Information of Rutgers yesterday. The topic sounds rather interesting. Obviously, being literate today is far different from being literate in the 18th century. The process of becoming literate has evolved. How do we accomplish our mission as educators? This is an ongoing issue which we ought to think about it constantly.
Here is brief info about the talk. http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/events/lis-brownbag-talk-by-dan-russell-from-google.html
Title: “The Evolution of Literacy: How search changes our understanding of reading, writing, and knowledge”
Abstract: What does it mean to be literate at a time when you can search billions of texts in less than 300 milliseconds? Although you might think that “literacy” is one of the great constants that transcends the ages, the skills of a literate person have changed substantially over time as texts and technology allow for new kinds of reading and understanding. Knowing how to read is just the beginning of it — knowing how to frame a question, pose a query, how to interpret the texts you find, how to organize and use the information you discover, how to understand your metacognition — these are all critical parts of being literate as well. In this talk I’ll review what literacy is in the age of Google, and show how some very surprising and unexpected skills will turn out to be critical in the years ahead.
Reading through the interview (link below), one can see a number of items on the newly hired university librarian’s agenda as priorities: reinventing the building, caring for the legacy materials and physical books, and delivering 24/7 services. Dr. James J. O’Donnell’s envision of the future academic library is “one in which everybody in the institution…gets everything they need, wherever they happen to be, immediately.”
It is true that the library profession originated as a service type and we always strive for better quality to serve users. We must remember, though, that the profession has evolved over the time in both concept and content. User education is an inseparable part in a modern library although the degree of involvement may vary depending on the mission and nature of the library. Academic librarians act dual roles: keeper and educator. Teaching is part of our job. Information Literacy education and library instructional programs are necessary, to say the least.
Interview link [It is a news link, thus, has more than this interview. Read the top item only.):
A Former Provost Is Recast as a Librarian, and Other News About People
Daniel Russell is a researcher at Google. Some of us may have taken his MOOC of Search ReSearch. A scholar, scientist, and an expert online searcher, Dr. Russell regards library highly and speaks of librarian with respect. “I have many reasons to use my local library-but perhaps the best is that it’s a place where I always learn something.”
“Reference Librarians. They’re excellent resources of information and a source of research skills. When you go to your public library, be sure to chat with the reference librarians. They are, in essence, professional SearchReseachers. They know all kinds of things that are key to finding information (both online and offline) in places and in ways you might not have thought about.” For full text, read his blog post:
5 reasons you should have a library card
“reference librarians are both incredibly well-informed about the infoverse AND incredibly happy to tell you everything they know in order to make you a better researcher. I like that. I like it a lot–they’re not out to make a dime from every transaction, but they’re genuine saints who want nothing more than to teach you how to do the search on your own and make you self-sufficient.” Full text:
Brian Mathews of Virginia Tech suggests to put “change [as a noun] literacy” into consideration for the ongoing revision of definition of Information Literacy. Change literacy is, describes Mathews, “the ability to anticipate, create, adapt, and deal with change (in the broadest since) [sense, I’d guess] as a vital fluency for people today.” The rationale is “If we treat change as a literary [literacy, I’d guess] then we can better prepare students for the challenges they will face tomorrow.” Despite the somewhat awkward term, Mathews’ view of “change literacy” reflects the evolving concept of literacy. His blog post about it can be viewed at
On a separate topic, a recent essay by the same author, “Librarian as Futurist: Changing the Way Libraries Think about the Future” appears in July 2014 issue of portal. He advocates “What will libraries be in the future? They will become whatever their users need.” His statement, while inspiring, has raised questions: how do we decide user’s actual need (in what scope and at what level(s))? Who decides user’s need (user-initiated or librarian-initiated or both)? These are the issues that deserve to be discussed.
Citation: portal: Libraries and the Academy, Volume 14, Number 3, July 2014 pp. 453-462.