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Special Interest Group Archive: Info Lit Instruction 11/16/2021

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

November 16, 2021

The meeting was held via Zoom on Tuesday, November 16, 2021. The facilitator was Melissa Tidd of SUNY Orange.


It is important for these students to get some kind of research instruction and understanding leading up to college. They seem to be missing some critical foundational skills.

How has the semester/season been going so far?  Any follow ups from last time? 

  • Been fairly busy with computers - have not been able to do much instruction because of the placement of computers and maintaining distancing.  Hoping in the spring that we can go back to instruction from the basics to databases and online materials - right now just not able. 
  • Some academic libraries have been back in the swing of things. Just been back to getting back in person and zoom, figuring out how best to assess.  
  • the reference chat has been very busy. 
  • At a community college, students would still walk in and ask when they could get on zoom for help with reference. 

Notes from last time- learning outcomes and instruction for first year college students and/or high school students - 

  • At a CC - all of our reference and instruction has been virtual this semester. We're doing a tremendous amount of reference chat. Students have to make reservations to visit the library in person.
  • I had my first reference chat of the semester during my shift today! Most of our questions have been coming in person and via appointment requests.
  • Students can come in - we haven’t had issues with capacity.  They do have to check in at the desk - not allowing the public in at this time.  Chat has been a little bit up and down.  There has been a variety in how patrons use services. 

----Those of us that have done instruction - we are trying to find good assessment methods- has anyone found that sometimes trying to assess students- polls, padlets, scavenger hunts - students aren’t participating?  

  • We sometimes do really simple things at the end of orientation workshops - first research workshop they do - they do a mini research project and do a share out to share research tips.  
  • I have a high school visit (virtual) next month; it's a workshop on how to prepare for college level research. It would be great if anyone can recommend resources or ideas for engaging our soon to be freshman students.
  • Some classes - we try to have them submit citations - some participate but not all.  Try to have students email citations articles as a form of assessment.  With a handout they would have to find an article with one or more databases - some students are quick, some struggle, some didn’t do it at all.  During the pandemic we tried to replicate using a padlet and google jamboard - found participation to be low.  Asked them to find a specific type of source and this is difficult - magazine articles versus scholarly journals - instruction delivery wasn’t getting through.  So we stopped the ‘type’ part - students weren’t engaged.  Started doing fun quizzes that tested concepts rather than a specific deliverable.  Questions on boolean AND after demonstrations and used a mentee quiz.  Less pressure to hand in an assignment.  Data collected is visually more appealing - can see what they are getting and what they aren’t. In a one-shot session, a simpler outcome assessment is helpful.  Students like praise too, good to have them do something they can be successful with. 
  • One thing - we use whiteboards and group work so there’s a faster response.  In your group, decide if this is popular or peer-reviewed?  Take the consensus of the group and talk it out.  Quieter students can get pulled in and are more engaged this way - since so many activities are rolled in the instruction is less monotonous.  Periodic quizzes/tactile group feedback is helpful. 
  • Low tech- not nice data, but pleasantly surprised. 
  • Group work is engaging; it allows them to have a "voice" in the learning process.
  • Students may like the interactive part - try to ask questions and include students somehow in the experience. 
  • I also find group work makes it easier to create a sense of community in a one-shot class. Maybe because it’s a more active learning environment?
  • I want students to understand that they are now scholars and contributing to scholarship.  So many from humanities are assigning annotated bibliographies and this is difficult for students.  Demonstrating and modelling for them is helpful.  
  • Even looking at 10th grade works cited - formatting is not looking great. 
  • Serious problem - many high school students have not written a research paper since junior year so we need to play catchup and get them back on track.  They seem to be clueless about the need for research.   Faculty just says ‘go to the library, use x,y,z’ and it’s a whole new language to students.  Librarians only have them for an hour or less so giving enough information is difficult- collaboration with faculty and feeder high schools can be helpful. 
  • What's a good size for a group?  3 students?  4?  ** 3 is the magic number!
  • So much you can talk about in a class but if you only have an hour it’s hard.  
  • We have found at our college that we don’t require instructors to bring students into the library- we try to figure out ways to require it for first year students so they have some understanding. 
  • Purdue OWL is everyone’s best friend. 
  • They need to understand that citation formats are different and important for different fields - they get confused.  Maybe they master it toward the end of a 2nd year of college. 
  • Gale Opposing Viewpoints is helpful in its inquiry based learning.  Metacognition and thinking about your own thinking needs to be modelled.   It would be great if students understood that when you get to college the library is a different place.  
  • Absolutely - coming into a college everyone is at a different point in their exposure to research skills and needs. It’s important for students to understand that wherever they are in their research process there’s something the library can offer to them.  Students might be looking for community- we need to get them to understand that there is a step-by-step process- not just a one-stop shop.  There’s a diverse group of students wherever you are.  Try to be as welcoming as possible no matter what the question is.  
  • Tell freshman students that there is no such thing as a dumb question!  
  •  - some of you may have heard of it but this is a scaffold for critical thinking during the research process.  
  • They need to see models because research and writing are complicated - synthesizing sources into a paper can be a struggle. 
  • From HS perspective- trying to get teachers and administration to understand that librarians are not just the keepers of books - not just english classes that librarians should be in.  Where are the library skills?  They should be everywhere across the board - not just providing one book to students.  It does seem like it’s a battle - all high school librarians are dealing with administrators who don’t seem to understand what the librarians are for.  In 3 years - only one social studies class! 
  • New York State needs to step up advocacy for librarians - what kind of advocacy can college librarians provide?  How do we get that word out?  
  • In a HS - we have two teachers in librarian positions who are certified teachers but not MLS - not trained librarians.  Who is representing the libraries in conversations with superintendents and school boards?  Typically are not being engaged.   Would definitely like help with this advocacy piece!  
  • In a recent class - trying to show students LibGuides and databases - instructor chimes in saying “I didn’t know you had that!”  - so advocacy is an issue.  
  • Walking Expo - we tried to walk around campus to pass out lists of services at the library to increase awareness.  Good to know and we do our best.  
  • The outreach piece has been difficult - at our place we are lucky that we get our one shot at orientation - basically waiting for faculty to request something.  We do other outreach to raise awareness for faculty - we have a big social media presence and engage to show the librarians are nice people.  Biggest issue is that faculty has difficulty carving out time for the library workshop - wanting to visit for fifteen minutes seems to be one way to get in the door. 
  • Many non-library colleagues don’t seem to understand that students will probably need to come back to the library - part of our outreach needs to demonstrate that the library is independent and a partner throughout the academic experience.  Writing Center, supplemental instruction, and workshops open for students.  We try to demonstrate that we are supporting them. 
  • We should advertise ACRL and ASL frameworks. 
  • We are using Empire State Information Fluency

    Syracuse - Barbara Stripling model for fluency. 
    Section 2- Continuum or 3 Skills (grade levels)
    Outlined for us what skills should be demonstrated. 
    Also looking at School Library Programming Rubric 

  • Reach out to programs on campus that are there to support student success.  
  • Also want to mention: tabling, collaborating with student service offices like residence life, student activities, etc has been successful for raising our profile.
  • Public library - are there programs helping patrons use databases?  Mostly on a case-by-case, pre-pandemic there was some one-on-one.  In RCLS the Reference Users group will be meeting to see who is offering this instruction. 
Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
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Phone: (845) 883-9065