Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Library Conference Week

This past week was a slightly lighter week for the library practicum since the annual Mississippi Library Association conference came to town (  The conference started on Tuesday, October 18th and proceeded through lunch on Friday, October 21st.  There were several good break-out sessions that covered a wide variety of topics for a wide variety of members.  I attended sessions ranging from "Promoting Information Literacy with Credo Reference" to "Academic Library Assessment."

My absolute favorite session was the "Connecting Kids to Books Through Storytelling" because it was not only fun, but we learned a lot about the value of storytelling along with some fun and useful activities.  We learned that there are several different types of stories.  These include echo, chant, call & response, drawing, and dramatized stories.

Brenda Pritchett (, the storytelling presenter, dressed the part by wearing a storytelling apron.  She not only looked the part, but spoke and taught like an expert storyteller.  She gave several good reasons why storytelling is important and how it can help children develop intellectually, emotionally, and socially.  It was very obvious that she has a strong passion for the subject matter, but it was also quite obvious that she has a strong passion for children.  She ended her break-out session by saying that children need encouraging words and we could use storytelling, in addition to personal interactions, to give encouraging words to the children around us.  Many of the things she said about storytelling made me think back to some of the things I am learning this semester in my LIS517 (Introduction to Children's Literature) class.

Beyond attending these beneficial sessions, it was good to meet some of my classmates and professors in person.  One of the unusual things about online courses is that we might not actually "meet" our classmates.  I found that these "people behind the names" have personalities that do not necessarily shine forth during our online chat sessions.  We are able to get to know our classmates a little through discussion board postings and introductions, but it is just not the same as meeting someone in person.  I also found that my professors are not only talented instructors, but they are incredibly encouraging and wonderful people inside and outside of the classroom.

Although I spent a lot of time at the MLA conference helping make sure that break-out session presenters had the requested equipment and that it worked properly, I was able to get in some hours at the reference desk, observe an Information Literacy session, and work a little more on my Grants LibGuide.

This week was a slower week with the reference questions as I only answered simple things such as "where's the copier."  I was able to work with one of the Reference Librarians to help someone find information in the APA manual.  Otherwise, it was a little quiet at the desk.

The Information Literacy session was taught by a different librarian than the one I've observed the last few times, so it was nice to see how this other librarian taught the sessions.  Since the class was a basic introduction for a basic undergraduate class, I did not see much that was new.  The librarian was able to really interact with the class, which made things more interesting.  At one point, she had every student pick up the two journals/magazines next to them and tell the whole class which publication was a journal and which was a magazine.  I thought this was a good exercise for the students.

As far as the LibGuide is concerned, I've been able to determine the information that is relevant for the guide and start laying out the tabs/panels.  My goal is to finish the guide in time for the next blog posting.  I think this will be quite possible, so check next week's blog for more information about this helpful guide...

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