By Erin Gallagher
If you work at an academic library, you may be experiencing what I call Associative Spring Fever, in which the students’ desire to get the heck out of Dodge transfers to you. Fortunately, there are plenty of hot topics to keep us occupied as the summer approaches.
Speaking of college students, I recently became acquainted with Project Information Literacy, a nonprofit organization in partnership with the University of Washington’s iSchool concerned with conducting ongoing research into the research behaviors of young adults entering higher education. Librarians at colleges and universities often struggle to develop instruction methods that support larger efforts for lifelong learning and global citizenship. Project InfoLit provides and aggregates a wealth of resources from the academic library community, such as videos, smart talks, and practical examples of how libraries are teaching information literacy well. Of particular significance is their research report released in December 2013 titled “Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College”. The report is lengthy (48 pages), but worth the read if you are looking to tailor your instruction sessions to meet the changing needs of incoming freshmen.
We are in the midst of evaluating and selecting a new integrated library system (ILS) for our college, as I imagine many others are. Wherever you are in the process, and even if you are not considering a migration at this point, it is worth reading about the disorderly and biased “Google-ization” of academic discovery systems in this piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
On a positive note, a study conducted by the United Kingdom’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport reports that visiting a library creates the same reactions of joy and happiness as receiving a $2,282 raise. This study is also quite long (weekend reading, anyone?), but the full report can be found here. What do others think? Would library use please you in the same way as receiving a raise? I imagine the positive effects of library visits would be cumulative, whereas the excitement of receiving a raise is immediate, but both seem to bolster wellbeing.
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.