In a post last week I mentioned my disappointment in being shut out of the Instruction Session’s discussion about teaching and outreach methods (two back-to-back sessions). No one in this jam-packed room was debating if information literacy was still relevant to the role of academic librarian or if there was still a need for library user education in higher education. These folks were too busy brainstorming and sharing great ideas about reaching out to the user community and helping them to use libraries and librarians more effectively. If you missed the session too, here’s the next best thing – a report about the outreach session from attendees Jean Caspers, who also happens to be Chair of the Management of Instruction Services Committee for 2005-06, and Anna Van Scoyoc, who is Chair of the Teaching Methods Committee for 2005-06:
The Management of Instruction Services Committee of ACRL’s Instruction Section held a Bright Ideas session on Sunday afternoon at ALA Midwinter that drew over 100 librarians to discuss ways to improve outreach. Using the interactive â€œjigsaw method,â€ participants got together to become â€œexpertsâ€ in outreach efforts to undergraduates, graduate students, non-academic departments, adjunct faculty & teaching assistants, and faculty, as well as in â€œcool marketing ideas.â€ Some ideas that came from the discussions ranged from the mild to the wild, including:
â€¢ creating a library profile on public community online tools such as MySpace or Facebook because many students may find the library approachable through that venue;
â€¢ offering train-the-trainer workshops (as well as research consultations) to graduate students and TAs;
â€¢ coordinating programs with student affairs departments (e.g., â€œResearch Consultationâ€ Workshops in the Residence Halls during heavy term paper times);
â€¢ initializing contact with adjunct faculty by informing them of the research tools available to them through the library;
â€¢ using RSS feeds and blogs to inform faculty of new books, instructional services, library news, etc.;
â€¢ designating space on library Web sites to rotate news re: upcoming workshops, programs, etc. happening in the library; and,
â€¢ setting up booths at student orientations which feature playful activities such as â€œStump the Librarianâ€ or even, â€œDunk the Librarianâ€, and giving students temporary library logo tattoos.
The ideas kept on coming even after participants returned to their â€œhome groupsâ€ to report on the â€œexpert groupâ€ discussions. Many participants walking away from the Bright Ideas Session expressed great enthusiasm about new ideas they had gleaned to take to their institutions. As with the Teaching Methodsâ€™ Brainstorm Session, a summary of all ideas offered will soon be posted to the ACRL Instruction Session Web site.
Many thanks to Jean Caspers and Anna Van Scoyoc for providing this report. I anticipate that we will have an additional report on the Bright Ideas session for teaching methods coming soon.