What Students Think About Libraries

Thanks to everyone who contributed thoughts about the most commonly held myths regarding libraries. Some of them were really new to me and I think some of them really illustrate the differences between academic and public libraries. Others were more universal! I will summarize the postings on my blog as soon as I’m sure they’re all in!

While I think librarians have a good sense of the general public’s attitude towards libraries, some of their ideas may still surprise us. Here is a link to comments made by students at a university in New Zealand about the Library of 2017. http://www.flickr.com/photos/15140711@N02/show/with/1581195673/ I especially like the view that librarians will all wear foil and pointy hats! 🙂

On a more serious note, I’m sure most of you have already read this report from OCLC, which came out in 2005 (http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/Percept_pt3.pdf). But it is worth reviewing in the context of myths and misconceptions about the library. The number one “brand” that students associate with the library is still, by a large margin, “books”.

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Educause Gets Net Savvy

Here’s a new white paper published by Educause that is right on the money in describing students’ habits and attitudes and the need for information literacy. I haven’t had time to read the entire paper yet, but just the quote below looks highly promising. Thanks Diana Oblinger! Sorry you couldn’t make it to our CALC Summit in May!

EDUCAUSE Quarterly | Volume 30 Number 1 2007
Constantly connected to information and each other, students don’t just consume information. They create—and re-create—it. With a do-it-yourself, open source approach to material, students often take existing material, add their own touches, and republish it. Bypassing traditional authority channels, self-publishing—in print, image, video, or audio—is common. Access and exchange of information is nearly instantaneous.

Today’s Students Don’t Like to Read – Does it Matter?

The second annual National Freshmen Attitudes report, linked below, reports that, “Only half of entering students enjoy reading and bring strong study habits. Although their desire to attend college was strong, only about half of respondents indicated enthusiasm for reading and appeared to have strong study habits, as shown below.”
07FRESHMANATTITUDES_report.pdf (application/pdf Object)

I am not surprised by this report. We all know that in today’s media rich world, one can often find the quick information needed without having to sift through lots of text. In addition, there are many forms of entertainment that overshadow simple reading for pleasure. At the same time, academics regularly bemoan students’ lack of critical thinking skills. I think this is an angle that academic librarians can incorporate in Information Literacy training. Communicate the simple idea to students that they must learn to READ complete articles; that they do themselves a disservice by relying on abstracts or quotes. They cannot fully participate in the academic discourse of their disciplines without carefully analyzing arguments. It seems like a simple idea, but maybe no one has thought to mention it to today’s freshmen.

ACRLog » Blog Archive » Moving Students Beyond “Good Enough”

StevenB poses a thoughtful question in the blog posting below. In effect, he says that the ubiquitousness of search engines and the ease of finding general information have resulted in students’ willingness to settle for the first resources they find. This is not a new complaint. However, he goes on to propose a solution in which we use student peer groups to evaluate each other’s sources and search techniques. Read the excerpt below or click on the link for the full post.

ACRLog » Blog Archive » Moving Students Beyond “Good Enough”

“Why not, we thought, take advantage of students’ own predilection towards learning in groups, sharing information with fellow students, and interest in generating content in communities. Might students, working in social communities be able to apply some form of “wisdom of the crowd” in improving their research? A possible model for this approach would be Nature’s experimental peer review model.”

Writing Assignments :: Just Ask the Students

I love the philosophy of this Professor, Laurence Musgrove from Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education – Inside Higher Ed :: Just Ask the Students
“But I would also say that it’s important for us to understand that we get the students we get, and they come with a wide range of skills and attitudes and experiences in writing. It’s our job to help them continue to develop as writers and provide the right kinds of assignments and assessments that help them on that path.”

The rest of this article goes on to discuss the views of students on their rights in regards to writing assignments. He argues that thoughtful assignment creation helps students to be more successful writers. This ties in with my post from last week regarding plagiarism. A writing or research assignment that requires students to follow well defined steps, gives ample time and guidance for revision, and includes an assessment rubric goes a long way towards creating good writers. I’ve seen some very good examples of this when I’ve worked with students in our Composition Classes. I would add in that including the librarian in planning the research portion of the assignment and having the librarian co-teach the sessions when you talk about research is another great strategy.

Members of our campus community who would like more information or to schedule a consultation should contact our Instruction Coordinator, Courtney Bruch, at 549-2363.

Multiuse Dormitory a Good Idea for CSU-Pueblo

Here’s a great idea (imho!) Perhaps we could lure more students on campus and create more community if we constructed a “multiuse” dormitory such as the one described below. While it is a space that might be considered more appropriate in the urban setting of NYC, I think it has components that would be very beneficial here. It is attractive, it houses students and faculty in the same floors with shared laundry and community spaces. It includes a shared garden space. And, perhaps most importantly, it has commercial space on the bottom floor. In this particular dorm, the bottom floor will be occupied by a non-profit daycare center and a college career counseling/mentoring center. I suspect our students might be attracted to a more non-traditional on-campus housing option such as this!
I read this on StevenB’s Blog:
The Kept-Up Academic Librarian: Faculty And Students Share New Dorm

which provides a link to the article itself.