Readings Week Two: Connecting Users to Resources

I was happy to read about librarians working with university lecturers in the Johnston article. After talking about librarians as teachers for the past week or so, it was encouraging to read about librarians in a similar-but-different role–librarian as consultant, perhaps? Resident information expert? I like the sound of that.

To begin with, it sounds like anything that instructional librarians are doing in academic courses is beneficial to students (based on the overall positive feedback in the Johnston feedback)–which, hooray! But it also made me think about past experiences with librarians in college courses. I remember one class session being devoted to our departmental librarian coming in and giving a talk about similar information literacy skills: searching various databases, managing our references, etc. I’m glad that there is increasing attention being paid to these areas; it’s something all students struggle with at least in the beginning of their academic career, and often do throughout school (I still have trouble from time to time with choosing citation styles and composing a search). And I think its right to invest time in finding the best methods to teach these skills. First, it made me think about the pros and cons of face-to-face instruction versus online tutorials. Yelinek et al. illustrated the handiness of having a single, good resource to point people toward, and eliminate the need to answer the same question over and over. On the other hand, in Johnston’s case, it sounded like a fair number of students responded that they would have appreciated a face-to-face approach. This makes sense to me; beyond obvious reasons like being able to ask questions and have them answered immediately, the face-to-face reference interview is usually seen as the best opportunity to determine exactly what users need when they use the library’s resources. It seems that the ADDIE approach would help us base our approach off of the needs of the users (as involved as that process sounds!).



2 thoughts on “Readings Week Two: Connecting Users to Resources

  1. I like that you pulled out the concept of librarians working with university lecturers. I think all too often we think about librarians creating instructional materials and professors instructing students to seek assistance in libraries, but rarely about the collaborative opportunists that exist for librarians and educators. Yes it would take more time and effort on the part of the instructor and librarian to meet and create materials specific to a certain course, or addressing a certain topics or skills that the educator has seen to be lacking in students. However, it seems like that time would be well worth it because the educational materials produced would have the potential to make so much more of an impact due to being specifically tailored to a specific group or audience. This could also save the students time because instead of having to piece together information from several instructional sources, they could potentially have a database to go to holding instructional materials specifically designed for the course they are taking or a specific project the are working on.

  2. I like the way you connect the ADDIE method of considering your users to the question of what the best way is to teach a skill. It seems like it might be tempting, instead, to ask, “What kind of screencast should we do?” or “How can we make our screencast most effective?” Considering the needs and the appropriate methods to meet them–whether or not they include a screencast–seems a much more prudent place to start.

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