Professional Development

IIC Conference, from the view of a Session Timer

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 10:14 am

As a perk to volunteering during the Inspiration, Innovation, Celebration conference held at UNCG last week, I was able to attend some conference sessions.

  • Clemson Connect: Reaching All Incoming Students (Anne Grant and Suzanne Schilf)

Clemson Connect is a program designed to ease the transition from home life to college life for all incoming Clemson students. It includes 4 components that address group work and faculty relationship dynamics (One Clemson: Yours, Mine, & Ours) , an online tutorial of resources and technology available (iClemson), reading comprehension skills (Summer Reading project), and a library workshop (LIB100). Clemson Connect is a one credit, required course that is pass/fail.

Anne and Suzanne discussed the library workshop component, LIB100, and its ties with the larger campus for support, funding, and progress. Before LIB100, the library worked exclusively with the ENG103 and CU101 courses to develop a one-hour bibliographic instruction session. They began with 15 instructors teaching 8 classes each and reached roughly 1943 students in total. As the need for a more solid LIB100 grew, a group of Reference librarians volunteered to develop the program as it is now. Originally the group emerged with 10 outcomes, 43 objectives, and a pre and post workshop assignment/assessment. They collaborated with the Computing and IT department, Undergraduate Studies, multi-cultural programs, and satellite libraries on campus for advertising and program support. In Fall 2008, the 50-minute LIB100 included 19 instructors, teaching 199 workshops, and reaching 3, 681 students in comparison to bibliographic instruction sessions of before.

After a bit of renovation and editing of the 43 objectives, the Spring 2009 version of LIB100 included 10 outcomes, 13 objectives, 5 instructors, 20 workshops, and a new interactive component to aid in the pre and post workshop assessment. As the Reference librarians continue to adapt and evolve the information/resources covered and the overall workshop itself, they learned some valuable lessons for future revisions:

  1. a pre and post testing/assessment/assignment does NOT work outside of the workshop. As it is a pass/fail, required course and students required to complete the post assignment through Blackboard many students forgot and ended up with a fall on their transcript (which could not be removed).
  2. as the workshop is designed for 50 minutes, the amount of information covered (and deemed important by the librarians) was overwhelming–try to get a student’s perspective on what’s significant for academic research.
  3. it is important to maintain relationships and contact with the ENG103 and CU101 courses, as these were the major supporters and collaborators of the original BI sessions.
  • Competition for Library Services (Larry Nash White)

Larry Nash White, from East Carolina University, discussed the future of libraries in a world of instant, on-demand information services.

Is there competition? Yes–as seen through a decrease in library statistics, nation-wide library branch closings, and the surge of retail book outlets. We’re in a networked world with access to the internet, email, blogs, and social networks at the “speed of transmission.” Not only are we able to access this networked world through hand-held devices, but we’re an increasingly flattened world with the globalization of goods, services, and communications. Therefore, libraries are increasingly facing tangible and intangible competitors.

Tangible Competitors:

  1. Amazon.com
  2. Barnes and Noble/Borders/Books-a-Million
  3. LSSI (Library Systems & Services, LLC.)
  4. independent bookstores

Intangible Competitors:

  1. Community literacy programs
  2. daycare
  3. wifi access hotspots
  4. changing demographics of families
  5. entertainment (tv, PSP, Wii)

So with all this competition for library patrons and access to information, how can libraries compete? We need to stop being comfortable–let’s step out of our comfort zones and traditional methods of service and see what is really attracting people to this service providers. We need to do something–don’t let mistakes or fear of failure keep us from trying new services, resources, or programs. We need to be proactive towards technology, resources, trends, and what people are using and how they are using it. Finally, we’re librarians–let’s use our research and resources to our advantage.

Although it was easy to feel overwhelmed or fearful of the future of libraries, the overall message was that although libraries have comeptitors in the information and entertainment services, they are not necessarily a threat. These competitors present an opportunity for collaboration and cooperation which can positively impact the public’s perception of libraries and the profession as a whole.

One Response to “IIC Conference, from the view of a Session Timer”

  1. Thanks for the review, Heather. I hope you found the conference worthwhile!


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