Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nearing the Midpoint

It is so hard to believe that we are just about to the midpoint of the semester.  I have completed a little over half of my hours for the practicum and have about 7-8 weeks left in the semester.  The following is a brief summary of all that I have completed thus far, beginning with the previous week's work.

This past week, I spent more time at the Reference Desk and was able to help a couple of students with research.  I practiced some of the things I learned in LIS501 Reference and Information Sources.  I began by looking approachable and welcoming the student's inquiry.  I asked a few questions to gain an understanding of the assignment and even looked at the one student's assignment sheet that she had in her hand.  I formulated a strategy, one learned from observing the Information Literacy instruction a few weeks ago, and showed the student how to execute the strategy.  I was able to help the student narrow the topic slightly, develop some keywords for an online library catalog search, database search, and internet search, and demonstrate how to narrow the results.  After we carried out the strategy the first time, we went back through it again because the student seemed to struggle a little at first.  She seemed confident the second time through, however.  We ended the exchange and I encouraged the student to come back for assistance anytime.  A little while later, I saw the student again and helped her remember the search strategy.

Over the last several weeks, since the practicum began, I've experienced many different aspects of the Reference Librarian position.  I have spent several hours at the Reference Desk learning how to assist students with research.  I've learned about being a liaison librarian and how to be more efficient with recommending books to various academic departments.  Over the past several weeks, I've observed Information Literacy sessions and have gained many good insights on more effective research strategies.  After a brief introduction on how to create LibGuides, I've begun creating my own guide.

At the beginning of the practicum, I spent a lot of time researching Document Delivery Systems (DDS) and was able to help the MC library make some minor decisions about which DDS to pursue.  Another result of this project was the creation of a document that will be updated over the next year or two and that will help eliminate some unnecessary overlap with serial subscriptions.

During the past week or so, I've spent some time researching Mississippi College's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), entitled "U Research: Engage, Empower, Enhance" (see last week's post for more details).  This plan will focus on the Association of Colleges & Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Standards, which include such standards as "the information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed" and "the information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently" (American Library Association, 2011).

 As I look ahead to the second half of the practicum, I realize that some challenges are forthcoming.  My plan is to finish creating the Grants Libguide that I am working on, learn more about MC's QEP and the ACRL Information Literacy Standards, and begin working on a training module for student workers.  If the second half is anywhere near as productive and valuable as the first half, I'm in for a treat.

Keep reading to see how the next several weeks unfold...

American Library Association. (2011). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Retrieved from

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