Posted by: Emily | October 2, 2008

Two or three things I won’t do again

I just finished conducting the first library orientation session of my hopefully long and storied career here at my new library. It went alright, I think, but who can really know? In my efforts to learn as much from my classes as my students don’t, here’s a list of things I won’t do next week when I take crack number two.

1. I won’t make all of my examples work perfectly. Library research is messy, and pretending it isn’t is a mistake. I want students to come away from the class knowing that it is a big unruly grapple for all of us.

2. I won’t give that quiz in lieu of exercises again. The department has a standard quiz that it gives students in this orientation session, but it’s not mandatory, and I’m encouraged to try something else. The quiz doesn’t require students to use any of the library tools we discuss in class. I’d rather use exercises that might be harder to complete, but allow students to struggle into knowing a thing or maybe two.

3. I won’t give information that students can give themselves. Just the way I sit on my hands when I’m at the desk, I need to learn to shut my fat trap in the library instruction session and let the students tell each other where they can find interlibrary loan and how to find a book in the catalog when you know the title.

I did see one student (out of 20) flash a smile at me at the end of the class. That felt like a triumphant success.

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