Category Archives: Essay

Enhancing the Self-Service Library with Visual Workplace Principles

By Christopher Raab
Associate Librarian, Franklin & Marshall College

Take a look around your local library, or any modern library for that matter.  You will likely see people interacting with a variety of Self-Service Technologies (SSTs) or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) service points. From self-discovery (catalog and database searching) to self-selection (open stacks and computers) to self-service (printer/scanners and checkout machines), the modern library is, in many ways, a veritable gas-and-go service station for the brain.  While modern sociologists have at times noted the negative attributes of self-service – such as diminished human interaction and increased consumer labor – this article seeks to explore and enhance the self-service experience within libraries, empowering patrons (and staff) through the application of visual workplace solutions.

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Square Peg, Round Hole: Big Picture Planning and the Opportunities and Limits of Design Thinking

By Ashley Roach-Freiman
Research and Instruction Librarian
University of Memphis

Introduction

Strategic planning is an important issue in academic libraries, and a practice that doesn’t often come easily. Recent literature shows that academic libraries suffer the consequences of poor planning by struggling with low morale, personnel turnover, and burnout (Kendrick, 2017). In an effort to combat and prevent such situations, one Instructional Services department at a large Southern urban graduate-degree granting university library sought ways to plan for the future. As a department, we were in a unique position, having recently acquired several new faculty members, replacing others who had retired or otherwise left. The incoming librarians included a hire new to the university, a Department Head who had served recently as Interim Dean of Libraries, the former Dean of Libraries returning to the faculty,  and myself, a librarian formerly in a visiting position with this department who had left the university for a period of months before being rehired in a tenure-track position.  We needed an opportunity to both get to know one another as colleagues and determine the department’s vision at a crucial stage of growth. To help the department heal from the effects of high turnover, we planned for a two-day departmental retreat to take place during the university’s Fall Break. Inspired by recent trends in library planning, we decided to incorporate design thinking methods into the retreat’s structure. After discovering the open-access IDEO toolkit Design Thinking for Libraries, we created an agenda that led us through brainstorming, ideation, and goal-creation.

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Teach Where They Live: New Opportunities for Library Instruction and Outreach in Residence Halls

By Michelle Bishop
Acting Coordinator of Reference
Penfield Library, State University of New York, Oswego

It was 7:30 p.m. and the student actors were beginning to arrive to review their roles for the “Experience World Libraries” workshop that would start in 30 minutes. As a live-in Faculty Resident Mentor in Hart Hall at SUNY Oswego, I had designed the workshop as an experiential learning activity meant to illustrate the critical role libraries around the world play in facilitating access to information. It was rewarding to see that after going through the three scenarios, students were actively discussing the impact that limited access to information has on societies. Two years later, I can still say this has been one of the most exciting teaching experiences I have had as an instructional librarian. It is important to point out that this experience occurred in a residence hall and not a traditional classroom. This workshop and other residential outreach experiences I have designed are as a result of the educational mission of Residence Life and Housing on the SUNY Oswego campus. Like Oswego, an educational focus is a key element of residential life missions on other campuses. As such, there is exciting potential for wide-ranging instructional outreach opportunities for librarians in campus residential settings.

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Escaping Library Orientation: The Introduction of Escape Rooms Into First-Year Experience Courses for Library Orientation and Familiarization

By Derek Malone
Assistant Professor, Instructional Services
& Interlibrary Loan, Scanning & Delivery Librarian
University of North Alabama

Background

At the University of North Alabama, our first-year library instruction has developed over time into a three-part sequence. The sequence is embedded in three required general education courses: FYE 101 (First Year Experience Seminar), EN 111 (First-Year Composition I), and EN 112 (First-Year Composition II). All students, unless they have tested out of one of the requirements, will attend all three instruction sessions.

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Supporting the Professional Writing Program with Online Modules – Collaboration and Engagement, Theory and Reality

Lily Griner, Yelena Luckert, Judy Markowitz, Nevenka Zdravkovska
University of Maryland, College Park

Abstract

The Professional Writing Program (PWP) at the University of Maryland, College Park, is designed “to teach the research, analysis, writing and language skills that students will need in their lives beyond the classroom.” The program currently reaches approximately 5,000 undergraduates in roughly 250 subject-centered classes (e.g. business, health sciences, economics, etc.) and focuses on helping students write and communicate effectively in the workplace. In response to the growing demand for library instruction to support the PWP, as well as the declining number of librarians available to provide instruction, a Canvas ELMS (Enterprise Learning Management System) modules course was developed to meet the library literacy needs of the program. The course consists of three independent modules that introduce students to Information Literacy Concepts, Research Pro Tips, and Core Sources in several PWP supported subject fields. This paper will explore how we developed and promoted the Modules concept (development process), how it has been received by the PWP (outcomes), and how the resources are being used by the faculty and students (impact). This article is based on a presentation given at the 2015 Innovations in Teaching and Learning Conference (April 24th, 2015, University of Maryland, College Park).

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