Monday, May 14, 2007

Topic 4 as discussed at the Reference @ Metcalfe Seminar

4. Public libraries and school students – shifts to “enquiry based learning” over the last 2 decades have greatly increased demands on libraries from students at all levels. How much to we try to meet this need?

Yes this is occurring.

Have noticed that both students and parents don’t always understand what is being asked of them. The Reference Interview is an essential tool, rather than just accepting the piece of paper being handed over to the library staff! Library staff are spending extra time ascertaining the student’s needs, and for them to understand the question.

Library staff resist answering the question for the student, or taking on the responsibility for the “right” answer.

Staff are spending time locating different sources and types of material. Students however think that one book will have the answer they need.

Some students are reluctant to do their own research or have information literacy difficulties.
Often it is these students who come to the library, as those who can research do so by themselves.

Often library staff have to explain how to use a book such as contents page, index etc. Or what a primary or secondary source is.

More assistance is being asked of library staff as people are coming back from the web. They are not finding things on the internet, or teachers want them to use other resources.

Libraries are providing good sites to use on the internet, and using this opportunity to promote our online databases “beyond the web”. Students are happy to explore these once they have been shown.

Home Work / Subject Guides / Bookmarks are popular for students also.

Parents who visit on behalf of their children also need to be shown that there are more resources than just a book. Staff are showing them how to do research, and giving them brochures about online databases.

Reference libraries – we have great resources, especially when all the lending copies are out. But students and parents must be aware most items are not for loan. To deal with frustrated students and parents, library staff encourage photocopying and note taking, and coming to the library sooner when the assignment is first received.

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