Sensational service delivery – we can absolutely do that!

23 03 2010

I started to write this in January! Imagine that. I need to get out of this habit of starting a blog post and not finishing it! Anyway, it’s still ever so relevant to what’s going on here at UoB, so I thought I should finish it…

First off for this post an article which I found really interesting, and timely for us here at UoB, from Jenny Cefai,  the Staff Learning and Development Manager at Anglia Ruskin University. This article was on the training page (p8) of the Gazette, (14/01/2010-27/01/2010) this is the online version. In the article Jenny tells readers why the staff at Anglia Ruskin university library went on a shopping trip and the intial outcomes of the experience. The main aim of the shopping was to see how the library could learn lessons from the retail sector when it comes to service delivery and good customer service.

This is really timely for us here at UoB, as after changes to the structure of the department and new management in place we are starting to develop a service delivery strategy across Information Services. So far meetings have been held across the sites to see how this can be developed and how staff can be involved (something which I think is essential if we are going to deliver some aces customer service and soemthing that Jenny touches on in her article) – ‘Motivated, enthusiastic staff are vital to the customer experience and therefore to the success of the organisation.’ Agreed!

A couple of meetings in and we’re starting to get a feel for what we can achieve in terms of service delivery here at the Moulsecoomb site. As well as the two main service delivery meetings here, we have had smaller meetings; the Information Advisers and our Learning Technologies Adviser discussed what the Information Services experience for staff and the Assistant Information Advisers and Assistant Librarians looked at the student experience. Resource Assistants also discussed our approach to customer service and following the example from Anglia our Resource Assistants went out and did some mystery shopping to get some ideas about customer service and how that compares to what we do.

We’re at a stage now where we need to bring all these discussions back to the main service delivery meeting to see where we go next. This is happening tomorrow. We’ll post again on any developments that come from that. Hopefully our service delivery plan will be starting to take shape.

Library day in the life, round 4, day 5

2 02 2010

Do you know what? I started this blog post on Saturday because I didn’t get chance to do it on Friday, now it’s Tuesday and I can’t remember what else happened on Friday!! How crap is that? Just goes to show that I need to write about stuff as and when otherwise it gets forgotten. Eeeekkk!!

This is a bit late, but Friday was another busy day :-)

So, what did I do?

First thing was a quick meeting with one of my colleagues about a photo competition we’re going to run as part of IS for you week. We’ve finally got our ideas down and we’re on way to publicity etc. So that’s good.

Desk session was pretty uneventful. Most unusual thing for that was the delivery of a new toilet seat and then trying to find which toilet it was for! Anyway that was sorted so back to the desk.

The afternoon involved a quick jaunt to see a lecturer about a DVD recording and a reprint, but not a new edition of a book.

I left work circa 4.30 to get to the London and South East Career Development Group (CDG) committee meeting at UCL. I was proper late for it though, which I was a bit annoyed about, but public transport is out of my control! Anyway, I arrived and there was some discussion to be had about what we needed to report back on to National Council on Monday/Tuesday. We had updates from the different officers in the group about what’s been going on and what’s coming up. The rest of it I’m going to have to catch up on in the minutes. This was followed by a couple of pops and then home.

I refuse to believe this is all I did on Friday! If I remember what else I will add to this post.

Forgetful librarian Emma

Library day in the life – round 4, day 4

28 01 2010

Is it really Thursday already? Yowsers.

I’m still at work as it’s my #latenightlibrarian duty until 9pm. I got here circa 9.15 today to discover my colleague had done herself a mischief tripping over and landing quite heavily on her hand. She was first aided, but ended up having to go to A&E just be sure she was all ok and just bruised rather than broken. Still, made things a bit trying for her today!

So,  I was  bit grumpy this morning for no particular reason, which generally makes me even more grumpy, because I can’t rationalise it! Idiot! Anyway, I had the usual start to my day- emails. Emails, emails, emails, emails. I finally sorted out the journals stuff for GY327 and the lecturer seems pleased, this was the start of his reply:

‘Wow, you are super-efficient in the library.’

Loves it! So, journal articles have been requested. Great.

I then did some more preparing for the recording for BURST and went over to Watts where we have a sound studio. Phil (the sound engineer) and I set things up and did some testing, testing, checking the levels and all that and we were ready to go. My colleagues arrived and we had a discussion about safe computing. This will feature in IS for you Week. One of my colleagues, Robert Schifreen used to be a hacker, so knows all about safe computing!! Recording went well and was fun too.

We had a break for lunch, desk lunch for me again, (which I actually hate doing, but have done twice this week I think, naughty) this gave a bit of time to catch up on emails etc. I then went back over to Watts and loaded the recording onto a computer with Adobe Soundbooth on, I would have preferred Adobe Audition, but that isn’t on the computer I was using, nevermind. I made a start on the editing, which takes a bloody age! I really enjoyed it though. I used to do internet radio stuff back in the day and this was a reminder of how much I did enjoy it.

Anyway, bits of editing done and back to the office to try and organise more recording for BURST with our SUVP for Education and Equalities and our Director of IS. Still need to schedule these in, but the SUVP for EE seems keen which I’m pleased about.

Freaking out slightly about the lack of time we have, but we’ll get it done. Sarah and I will be out and about harrassing students for their views and ideas about IS. I’m looking forward to that :-)

So, I’m now on the enquiry desk and it’s been a fairly busy session. Things keep breaking, well a phone and the printer credit machine, I’ve had to do a few more walk arounds than normal to try and keep the noise levels down as we’ve had a few complaints about that. For the most part though, people seem to respect others are trying to work, but there’s always a rowdy few!!!

Tomorrow is set to be another busy day with more IS for you Week stuff, this time a photo competition to discuss and get moving on. Then an enquiry desk and then I’m off to a Career Development Group London and South East Committee meeting at UCL. Phew!

I’ve got chartership activities that need attention which will have to be this weekend I think. Rock and roll!

Ok, that’s the end for today, just half an hour to go for Late night librarian Emma.

Library day in the life – round 4, day 3

27 01 2010

Mid week already and another busy day.

I was a bit later arriving to work today and finally started climbing the email mountain circa 9.30am. A colleague was off poorly, so we had two desk sessions to cover. I volunteered for the 1-3.15 slot as I wasn’t scheduled to be on the enquiry desk at all today. I ended up splitting the session with another colleague in the same position.

So, once emails had been done, I went and placed my votes on the names for the drop in sessions we will be running from February.
I had some follow up to do with a lecturer about a book, a DVD and copyright. The copyright issue took up a fair amount of time and we’re now waiting to hear back from the publisher as to whether we can have permission to photocopy under our licence with the CLA. Following this I did another bit of searching for some journal articles requested by a lecturer for a module starting next semester, there’s a fair few of them to get through and I managed to finish this today! Hurray!
I had some reservations to sort out and a request from another of our libraries for a book to have there for semester 2. That was sorted and sent over to them.

I then had a brief visit from my mentor Sarah Friend, who was dropping off two marantz audio recording kits for Sarah and I to use to get some material for IS for you week for BURST, which led on to some emails about that too. We’re organised to record the first piece tomorrow morning, so we’ll see how that goes!

I had some lunch at my desk while checking Twitter and the blogs that I subscribe to. I then went down to do my bit of the enquiry desk session. Back up to the office with a hot chocolate and a quick check through the latest reservations list. Sarah and I then met to have a go with the audio recording kits, which are great! We’ve figured them out, pretty straight forward to use, so we’re good to go tomorrow, hopefully!

I then attended an open meeting with the VC about the future of the university, it doesn’t sound great, but it seems we are in a better position that some other universities. There was the opportunity for questions and the idea of these open meetings on a termly basis seemed very welcome by staff. I’d be rubbish as a VC or any sort of managerial type!! The sector as a whole has it’s work cut out for the coming years. We’ll see how it goes.

The day was rounded off with preparations for the recording tomorrow. We’ve got the people, we’ve got the topic, we’ve got the equipment – this can only go well!!

Tonight is belly dancing, so I’d better get my shimmy on!
Librarian Emma

Library day in the life – round 4, day 2

27 01 2010

Tuesday, it’s Tuesday and what a busy day!

Arrived at work circa 9am this morning and after a quick change and getting a peppermint tea (the penultimate teapigs teabag that I got for my birthday from the lovely Chris Rhodes) I was ready for action circa 9.15am. First things first emails. Like yesterday there was a variety to respond to ranging from letting lecturers know books were ready for them to collect to responding to an enquiry about the design of services in multi-storey buildings. The email focus shifted to some relating to the IS for you Week which we are preparing for in mid- February. Part of what me and Sarah are involved in is coordinating and contributing to getting together some material to broadcast on Brighton University Radio Station (BURST). It’s been quite a task so far as we haven’t had many offers to contribute. Anyway, there were emails to respond to about that.

As a result of emails again there were some more books to order and reading lists to up date as well as chasing stuff ordered before Christmas to see when we can expect it to arrive. Following the climb up email mountain I had a briefing session with my manager for an hour or so in which we discussed what I’d be up to, how things are going, how my chartership is progressing, what other activities I’m involved in etc. We also had a chat about the article in the latest Gazette – Let’s go Shopping written by Jenny Cefai from Anglia Ruskin University, which I thought was really interesting and pretty timely for us as we look at our service delivery. I’ve done a separate post about it, which will follow soon! I also mentioned some interesting points raised by Graham Bulpitt, Director of Information Services at Kingston University, who did a CPD25 session last week about developing a service, again so timely for us at UoB.

This was followed by a quick lunch with some friends from Student Services and then I was back in for my enquiry desk session from 1 – 3.15. The enquiry desk was pretty steady today. In between enquiries I tried to go through some more publishers catalogues for stock selection, but this didn’t get very far! Also some confusion about the right codes to use for ebook ordering, but this is hopefully sorted!

After my desk session Sarah and I met and had a chat about how we should move things forward with the BURST stuff as time isn’t really on our side! We came up with some good ideas though about how to generate some material given that we’ve have such little interest from staff across information services and we may well have to offer some bribes to get some more people involved! Such a shame as I think this is a great opportunity to engage people with Information Services in a different way. We’ll get there I’m sure. Our mini meeting was rounded up with what and how we’re going to present our joint and individual experiences at the MAIS professional day next Friday. We’ve got a half hour to fill , so we should be just fine :-)

Back up to the office to double check a reading list for a lecturer to make sure we’ve got the most recent editions of the books listed on there and then resumed checking for journal articles for another lecturer  who sent me a massive list of requests for a new module. Still not finished this, but defo will tomorrow! My day was rounded off with an impromptu visit from my chartership mentor Sarah Friend, who is an absolute gemstone and sorted out a couple of audio recording kits for us to use for getting our BURST material together. BURST is based at University Centre Hastings (UCH) and so all of the main activity for it goes on over there. Lucky for us they are keen for us to be involved!

Final few emails to reply to before shutting down for the day.

So, that rounds up Tuesday. After work I got the fringe back, ran to pilates, did some pilates, ran home, popped to the Co-op and saw a couple of friends in the pub, popped in to say hello to them (no drink though -not even a pop!), made my way home, had a bath, sorted my stuff for tomorrow, ate some jammy toast and had a hot chocolate and now it is defo time for sleeping :-)

Until tomorrow.

Librarian Emma.

Happy Anniversary! My first year as an Assistant Information Adviser at the University of Brighton

13 01 2010

So, yesterday  was my one year anniversary as an Assistant Information Adviser (AIA) at the University of Brighton (UoB) and I’m going to get my clichés out straight away! The time has flown by, so for the most part it must have been fun, and indeed it has. Of course there have been a few freak outs, crossed wires and a couple of uncomfortable situations, professionally and personally, but each one of these situations has taught me something, so that’s good.

This post is going to look at some of the highlights of the year for me and the easiest way to do that is chronologically, so here goes! A year in the life of Emma Illingworth, AIA, UoB. A lot of what I mention we’ve previously blogged about so it links to them rather than repeating what we did etc.

January 2009

On the 12th of January 2009 I started my job as an AIA at the Aldrich Library, UoB.

First impressions:

  • Much larger department than I’d previously worked in.
  • Lots of people to get to know, sharing an office with one other, when I’ve been used to open plan and a smaller team.
  • Lots of potential to develop in the role and lots of opportunities.

February – March 2009

  • Getting into the swing of things, finding out about the academic staff and the courses I’m responsible for; familiarising myself with reading lists, learning about stock selection, ordering, weeding.
  • Enjoying the enquiry desk and the variety of conversations to be had on there! Started to find out more about delivering workshops as part of our LOCO programme to staff and researchers.
  • Also attended a session about mobile technologies and how they are being used for education.
  • Observed a couple of user education sessions delivered by a colleague to get an idea of what needs to be included – how to deliver them etc.
  • Visit to Falmer library to see their self issue machines in action and find out a bit more about how this has changed how they work.
  • Got in on the Marketing Action Group to see if I can contribute to this working group which looks at marketing across the department.
  • We trialled 24/5 opening hours which was very well received, but had its challenges! People sleeping here, take aways being delivered = mess and odd smells! Yuckers! Study rooms locked with people’s stuff in.

April-May 2009

  • Submitted proposal with Sarah for the first New Professionals Conference, which got accepted! Aces!
  • Delivered my first workshops with colleague Maggie – Getting to grips with the Online Library and An Introduction to Endnote.
  • Attended my first school board.
  • Planning with Sarah for New Professionals conference – ideas, ideas!

June 2009

  • IS overview – this was great as we got to visit all the other site libraries of UoB – Falmer, Queenwood and DGH (Eastbourne), UCH (Hastings), Grand Parade. We also got an overview of the other sections of IS – computing, network services, media centres, reprographics. A very useful insight which gave me a better understanding of how I fit into IS.
  • Planning for the New Professionals conference continued as a busy Sarah is double booked! We go for video action. Book in with Janette Grabham for recording in the TV studio. Exciting!
  • More marketing activities.
  • Looking at Camtasia for visual ‘how to’ guides.
  • Our Information Services Manager , Lyn Turpin, retired and was eventually replaced by our current Information Services Manager, Steve Newman.
  • Glastonbury!! Loved it.

July 2009

  • New Professionals conference 06/07/09 – Yikes! (Paper now available online) Met Kathy Ennis (CILIP) who asked me to do a workshop at the CILIP graduate day.
  • Learning and Teaching conference at UoB – Representing Information Services at this conference held at here.
  • Umbrella – used itouch for tweeting sessions. Met some lovely people. Hoping to do a Busy conferencesession at the next one!!
  • Stewarding at the award ceremonies – students from the School of Environment and Technology, which are my subject areas. It was me in July 2008! Ah the memories!
  • More weeding.
  • Started Librarians on the Loose!

August-September 2009

  • Planning for and delivering user education sessions! Eye opener and learning curve!
  • Chartership preparation underway, meeting mentor
  • Roaming helping trial – worked well.
  • CILIP graduate day – This was aces. Delivered a couple of workshops about marketing yourself as a new professional in the workplace.
  • Getting reading lists and buying books.Music festival adventures
  • Start of term!
  • Break ups and meltdowns. Boooooo!
  • Bestival! Another aces musical adventure!

October – November 2009

  • More user education sessions.
  • CDG committee meeting
  • More Endnote and Getting to grips sessions
  • Box of Broadcasts launchPoster session at library conference
  • CrossSearch launch
  • IS for you week planning and ideas – this is for a week of intense activity from Information Services to promote what we’re about. We’re on for the week of the 22nd February 2010 and I’ve no doubt there will be a blog post about that! So far there’s radio activities, drop in sessions and a mobile enquiry desk from Aldrich Library and more from other IS departments. Ooooooooohhhh.
  • Drop in sessions – these didn’t work so well, but we’re going to have another go from February 201o, so we’ll see.
  • CILIP Manifesto Task and Finish Group activities – overwhelming, but valuable experience. Not sure I contributed so much to this.
  • New Professionals Support Officers Training Day
  • Start attending the CPD25 sessions to help with Chartership activities

December 2009 – January 2010

  • My birthday!birthday cupcake
  • Freak out! – I had a bit of a funny old time mid-end of December which mainly involved doubting my ability to do anything! Great.  Good email talking to from my mentor though, which helped to put things into perspective. Thank goodness for that!
  • IS for you week planning and ideas continue
  • More book ordering
  • Drop in sessions – still trying with these in December
  • Information Services Christmas party – good quiz and lots to eat! Sarah and Helen were on the organising committee for this.

Phew! So, that’s it. What a busy year. 2010 seems to hold lots of adventures which we will of course let you know about on here. In coming weeks I think we’ll probably post more about IS for you week, the silent top floor and 24/5 opening hours.

Here’s to an exciting and productive year for 2010!

Librarian Emma

CPD25 – E-resources Collection Management

17 12 2009

Last week I attended a CPD25 workshop about E-resources Collection Management which was given by Anna Grigson, E-resources Manager at Royal Holloway, University of London. For me the workshop was interesting and useful and prompted some questions for me to ask our Eresources Coordinator about how we manage our e-resources.  Sarah has mentioned our potential radio activities in 2010 and I think our E-resources Coordinator would be a great person to do something like the day in the life feature for that.

Anna took us through the workshop in the following stages:

  • What are e-resources?
  • Where are e-resources?
  • How do users find e-resources?
  • How do we select e-resources?
  • How do we buy e-resources?
  • How do we manage e-resources?
  • Policy
  • Practicalities

We had opportunity to discuss each of these questions and doing this made things clearer for me about what we do here at the University of Brighton. An interesting discussion point was how users find e-resources. There was common theme that people don’t really get how e-resources can be accessed and searched which gives us the challenge of getting people to understand what’s available to them and how they can use the resources.
Another area of interest for me is all the different authentication options and how they can be managed, what the providers dictate and how that limits what we can do. Our 3 authentication options are: athens, exproxy and shibboleth. These access options are described on our Information Services website.

The other discussion I found interesting was about who selects and buys e-resources. Usually selection comes down to the subject librarians, the e-resources team and suggestions from academic staff and other users. Anna told us about a pay per view option which allows for user selection and purchase. As I understand it a portion of the budget gets allocated to a central pot with the publisher/provider and users can select and buy items of interest. Limits and checks can be used so that what is being bought by users can be monitored. I’d be interested to see how this works in practice. In theory it seems like a great way to develop a collection.

Anna gave us some issue to think about relating to e-resources collection management, which I have attached, along with her presentation slides.

Librarian Emma

Here are the handouts we got at the session from Anna Grigson, E-resources Manager, Royal Holloway, University of London

CPD25 E-resources issues handout
CPD25 E-resources references handout
CPD25 E-resources presentation

Student population trends – do we care?

10 12 2009

It was ‘Diversity week’ here at the University of Brighon last week which consisted of various events, seminars and workshops across the university aiming to raise awareness of diversity. The theme running through the week was Race, Internationalisation and Culture. I attended a session about student population trends to try and get a better understanding of what all of this means generally to the university and more specifically to us in Information Services.

The focus of the session was ethnicity, although the university does monitor trends in gender and disability with applications, progression, achievement and employment. Overall the session was useful to me as I got a better understanding of why this is important to the university and also just how complex a topic it is too. From an information services point of view I saw this as how the services we deliver affect admission, progression, achievement and employment and therefore impact on the student population trends. I see Information Services as being integral to the progression and achievement part of the student experience, with information literacy being essential as well as supporting learning and teaching with suitable and relevant resources alongside getting our students familiar and confident users of the resources available to them.

We know we are a key department at all stages of a students university experience, supporting teaching and learning across the university. I have been thinking if there is actually anything we as a department can do to show that we are aware of and supportive of the diverse nature of our student population and whether there is anything that we need to implement strengthen this in the services that we provide. Do we need to demonstrate that or should it go without saying?

As far as I’m aware the department adopts the stance of the university as a whole in that we provide the same level of service to each student, while taking into account the fact that there may be adjustments that need to be made to facilitate access to all. We want to be inclusive and provide equal access to all our users regardless of race, gender, disability, culture etc. I think our staff have an awareness of recognising the diversity in our students and responding that appropriately.

Working alongside, and taking advantage of training offered by other university departments, particuarly Student Services goes a long way in making sure we are providing the best service possible to all our users.

I think it’s important for us in Information Services to be aware of student population trends and how we contribute to those certainly at the progression and achievement stages and how that helps us recognise and strengthen our place in the university as a whole.

All change please…

26 11 2009

It feels like a long time since I posted anything, but in real life it’s been just over a week! Imagine that. Anyway, all’s mostly ok here in Brighton. It’s been very blustery and rainy just lately, but no where near as bad as the what’s been occuring in Cumbria.

In work – more user education sessions and new staff in the pipeline
So, what’s been going on? Well, it feels like a lot in the last week; I’ve got another literature searching session for some final years booked in for next term and a couple of Endnote web ones to go with that, so I’m going to get thinking about how I can make these sessions interesting and engaging. The last literature searching one I did there were a couple of activities and a quiz throughout which seemed to keep them interested. I try and keep it to 40 mins to an hour max depending on questions which seems just right for most.

Our department has been going through a fair bit of change and this will continue now the new managers have been appointed. It’ll be really interesting to see how they will change the department and direction we will take. I was very pleased to hear that one of them will be responsible for developing a martketing strategy for the department as this is something that’s been bugging me since I started here. A colleague of mine did a lot of work for this, but somehow it’s never seemed to move forward for one reason or another, but once the new people start hopefully this will progress. I’d like to get involved in that somehow. We’ll see what happens. It’ll be great to get a consistent approach to marketing across our sites and this should defo help. It’s quite exciting really!

Chartership – the marketing theme continues…
I attended the first in a series of workshops put on by the CPD25 which should help with the chartership process. This one was about marketing library services, which I know a bit about already, but I’m always keen to hear the experiences of others and see how other university libraries approach their marketing. This session reinforced what I already know and gave me some ideas about what we could do here. Timing wise it fits in quite nicely with what I mentioned above about developing a marketing strategy for the department. I also met some lovely people and I’m looking forward to the next one, even though it is on my birthday!

What else? I’ve got a deadline for finishing my PPDP which is going slowly! I thought I’d be all over it, especially because me and mentor decided on this deadline, but I am rubbish! I don’t know where my time goes. Anyway, that’s a task for this weekend I think in between two birthday celebrations and a wedding! Crikey.

Right, that’s it.

Librarian Emma

User education – I think I’m starting to get it….

1 11 2009

So, it’s been a busy week, but mostly a good one. There’s lots I want to talk about, so I might do a couple of posts. In this one I’m going to focus on user education and the next one I’ll concentrate on chartership progress. Aces.

Partner college inductions
I’ve been involved in a couple of these inductions for students on University of Brighton courses, but studying at one of our partner colleges. I did a very basic introductory session for Equine students this week and last week for Outdoor Adventurous Activities students and Countryside Management students. These groups really varied in terms of how they engaged with the sessions and their response. The equine students for example had a session at 2 in the afternoon, but they had been up since 5.30 doing horsey stuff, so were understandably tired and therefore were quiet and less responsive than the outdoor adventurous activities lot, which came along at 11 on a Monday morning. Anyway, with all of these inductions the purpose was really just to introduce them to the library and computing services that they can make use of and how we can support them, which is what I did! What I do find a bit strange about this particular partner college is that after the induction we don’t provide any further instructive/training sessions to these students even though they are on University of Brighton (UoB) courses. I think it’s because the money that UoB gets for theses students goes directly to the college and so it’s expected that they get their main library provision from their college. This poses difficulties because we don’t know what the librarians there offer to UoB students and even whether they see it as their role to do user education at all. It’s something that I don’t know a whole lot about at the moment, but hopefully over time I will get the bigger picture about who does what and why.

Endnote for Pharmacy Phd’s and Researchers
I delivered this session with my colleague Suzanne. She works at the Falmer library so we don’t get to do stuff together that often, so this was a welcome opportunity to work together.
I deliver Endnote sessions with another colleague Maggie, as part of the university wide training programme we offer to staff and researchers, so I am familiar with the format of the session.
I like doing user education stuff, but I did get nervous before this session, I think because it was in a different room, with a different colleague and a specific group rather than a mix up from around the university. Suzanne knows Endnote inside out which was reassuring, because although we had checked things worked in the room we were using a week or so before our session, the technology did misbehave! It wasn’t the end of the world, we just had to demonstrate this part of the session, which was Cite While you Write, rather than get them to go through the exercise themselves.
This group was very on the ball and they got through the workbook quite quickly and with a minimum of help. So, apart from a slight technical glitch, we were all ok.
I really valued the opportunity to work with a colleague from another site library too.

Literature searching  for second years – geography, geology, environmental sciences, environmental hazards
This was by far my favourite session that I’ve done with students so far and I only wish I’d done more like it with my other groups. Although I’m confident that I’ve covered all of the stuff I needed to in my sessions I do think some groups have had a better session overall than others, which is a bit unfair really, but I’m putting all of this down to learning, as it’s the first time I’ve been involved in this sort of user education and I’m certainly getting a better understanding of what can work and what really doesn’t.

At the moment I like it when I can make the sessions quite active so that the students are really taking part. In this session for example, we started with the concept of literature searching and what that actually means. We identified 7 stages of literature searching, which I had printed and put in envelopes and handed to random people as they were coming in. I briefly explained what I needed them to do and made sure they were ok in taking part. So, when we were talking about the stages of literature searching, I got the 7 students with their envelopes up at the front and the rest of the group put the stages of the literature searching process in the correct order. It was a good start to the session, the group were active and responsive and I think it woke them up a bit as it was 9 on a Friday morning!

We had activities throughout the session which really helped in keeping the students engaged in what we were doing, literature searching, and search techniques as some of you reading this probably know, is not the most interesting thing for students, so keeping them engaged and participating in the session was really important.

The other thing about this, is it would have been better to get them to do hands on searching themselves, but we had the session in a lecture theatre., so that was a definite no from the start. Instead we had activities throughout which I told them about at the start of the session so that they knew they had to be on the ball and listening to be able to do the activities. The activities included a mini quiz about search techniques and Online library bingo. I introduced them to Endnote Web and we spoke a bit about the importance of referencing and keeping track of citations etc. The final thing I asked them to do on their activity sheet was to tell me one thing that they had learnt in the session. I asked them to hand in their activity sheets with the chance to win some library related goodies and about half of the group did. So, there was also an incentive offered in the form of a prize to sort of bribe them to take part!
Anyway, on the whole I think it went well. The responses to the ‘what did you learn today’ questions varied from knowing how to use CrossSearch to finding out about Endnote web, so I was pleased that they had got something out of the session.
I was also pleased with myself for trying out different things to keep them engaged. On this occasion it seemed like they were well received, but if the group had been different  and less responsive then it could have been really hard work! Like I said earlier I wish I’d been braver with my other groups and attempted something a bit more interactive. Still, I think I’m on the right track.

So, that’s all for user education type stuff this week. Next post is about chartership progress.

Librarian Emma.


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