On 7th June last year, a Zimbabwean researcher asked the following question:-
How effective is user education provided to students at academic libraries?
There is a problem that most academic library users after introduced to the library and educated about the library use and services the library offers among other things, but still they find it difficult to use the library. What really might be the cause?
I immediately jumped in. The conversation still continues, fitfully. (I can copy my response here, but unless I have permission from everyone in the discussion, I can’t ethically share the whole conversation. It wasn’t until this evening that I realised that maybe I could ask everyone if they would object to the conversation being copied into Storify, so it would be openly available and not within the ResearchGate walls.)
Anyway, I’ll share my response of 13th June, and then I’ll wait to see what the others say. If necessary, I suppose I could ask individuals for their permission to quote them.
Can I (modestly) reference a paper I wrote last year? Library Review
Vol.64, Iss.1/2, (2015), 154-161, ‘Sexy Bibliography (and Revealing Paratext)’
I have also blogged about library user education as part of my studies for a postgraduate certificate in teaching and learning in higher education https://karenmcaulay.wordpress.com/e-portfolio/ and I am continuing this study in a project for submission next year.
Can I briefly make a few points here?
- Firstly, we’re not teaching new undergraduates “library science”. They just want to know where to get started in the library. Don’t start by trying to turn them into mini-librarians!
- Secondly, students learn best at the time of need. So we provide regular training working in collaboration with teaching staff, and with one eye on the teaching and submission schedules. If students have their first essay coming up, they will be more motivated to listen and learn from us!
- Thirdly, make the teaching relevant. They are going to write about Prokofiev? Find examples of electronic resources that you have ensured WILL FIND appropriate information on Prokofiev!
- Lastly, flip the classroom. Embrace good pedagogical practice and involve the students rather than lecturing them. Ask what they think/recommend. Build on what they know (This is called a “constructivist approach”) Use multimedia to engage. I could go on, but maybe I’d better stop for now!
How effective is user education provided to students at academic libraries? – ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/post/How_effective_is_user_education_provided_to_students_at_academic_libraries#58715ff45b49529a6b48ff14 [accessed Jan 7, 2017].
Interestingly, the last lines- the citation – were added automatically by ResearchGate when I copied the text. Maybe they’ve taken care of it that way! I still worry that ResearchGate participants might be the only ones able to open the link. Could someone check the link for me, please?