Friday, April 17, 2009

Learning Spaces in EDUCAUSE Quarterly

photo by Alice Wasielewski
A recent special issue on learning spaces of Educause Quarterly contained a photo of the Information Commons at the University of Kentucky taken by yours truly (at the bottom of the page second from right if you click on the link).

The Information Commons at UK is a great place for students, and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. At my current job at Eastern Kentucky University, we are working on our own great new space for students, The Noel Studio for Academic Creativity. Construction is beginning soon!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Motivating Students

I recently read a useful book (that I have to give back to ILL today) called Motivating Students in Information Literacy Classes by Trudi E. Jacobson and Lijuan Xu. This handy little volume is aimed at librarians teaching full-semester IL classes, but it contains a lot of good advice that can also be applied to the brief sessions that I teach. One standout was the advice on student autonomy and how students become more motivated when given simple choices. This is a book that I don't want to return.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What a Huge Hubbub at Spring KLA!

photo by Shawn Livingston
I really enjoyed presenting a mini-session with Stacey Greenwell about the University of Kentucky's annual freshmen event at this year's KLA spring conference.

"What a Huge Hubbub: Welcoming students to the library by having a party!" introduced our audience to the ins and outs of holding an enormous library event as part of freshmen orientation week. UK Libraries' "Hubbub" attracted about 400 students in its first year in 2007 and doubled to nearly 800 in 2008. That makes for an event that is wonderful publicity for the library but also takes a great deal of preparation and hard work from lots of library employee volunteers.

The best part of our presentation, for me, was putting a lei around everyone's neck as they entered, just like we did at our freshmen event. Thanks to Stacey for presenting again with me this year!

Sacred Cows

Rick Anderson of the University of Utah gave a thought provoking talk at Spring KLA. Five Sacred Cows of Librarianship: Why They No Longer Matter, and Why Two of Them Never Did questioned some basic assumptions of reference work and collection development. I'm not sure I agreed with his point that libraries have never really owned physical copies, only access, but I did like his point about technology making on-demand just-in-time access now possible and that librarians' ultimate goal should be to make reference service unnecessary. I always feel like my goal in instruction is to teach students what they need to know to help themselves.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I'm at the Kentucky Library Association/Special Library Association joint spring conference, affectionately known to many as "Spring Camp" due to the fact that it is always held at a Kentucky state park.

This morning I attended session on LibGuides by Eastern Kentucky University's Cindy Judd and Nicole Montgomery, my colleagues at MPOW. I just started using LibGuides when I started at EKU in October, and I find them to be easy to create, appreciated by teaching faculty, and really used by students. I didn't even have any real training when I began, but they are so simple that I could just jump right in.

Cindy and Nicole gave a great overview of why an institution would want to use LibGuides and some challenges that they represent. Myself, I learned that you can put two profiles with two librarians' pictures on a LibGuide, which is going to be great for next time I'm team teaching different sections of a class with another librarian.