Posted by: Emily | September 30, 2009

Wait, why are we doing this again?

I had a class no-show yesterday. It was just a mix-up, the growing pains of a new collaboration, I think, lack of contact information, quick skimming and failure to read key things like dates and times. Not a big deal, we’ll just reschedule for next week, these things happen.

Except that it felt like a big deal, I guess because I’d been working so hard on class prep and then had nowhere to go with it. I had two different exercises! Ready to go! Depending on the mood of the room! So flexible, so reflective! And then getting stood up, which no matter how much therapy I have always feels like it’s about me and how I don’t matter.

But does library instruction matter? As I sat in my cloffice brooding over my discarded lesson plans, I wondered if it would have mattered to student learning if the class had shown up after all. If they’d spent fifty minutes watching me search databases, then searching databases themselves, then showing the class how they searched the databases and then maybe never searching a database ever again for the rest of their whole lives.

So this isn’t meant to be an Eeyore post as much as an honest question: does library instruction matter when it happens in one fifty minute pop? What do you tell yourself on those thistle-eating afternoons when it only seems to matter to you?



  1. I think about this pretty much constantly, esp. this time of year when we’re ramping up to our busy instruction season (we have one required 75-minute session in English Comp I, which is our only required library instruction). It’s so easy to feel dissatisfied with the one-shot. It’s practically tailor-made for librarian-disappointment, since there’s so! much! more! we could share with them about the library.

    You guys are doing evals w/google spreadsheets, right? Do you ask any questions to get at how the students feel about the library sessions? I was kind of surprised over the summer when I went through our 2000+ evals from last year. True, we did get responses along the lines of “I know this already” and “why do we need to be here?” But we got many more “thanks for showing me this stuff about the library” and even “this library class was great!”

    So as much as I wish we could do more, I think the intro one-shots really do demystify the library for many of our students. And I hope it make them comfortable enough to come back with their research questions.

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