For Thing 17, I am going to write about what role reflective practice can play in the library. I will discuss the following aspects from the Gibb’s model: description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, action plan. For the purpose of the blog I will discuss library orientations.
A large aspect of my role is to organise events for the library to help engage students with the library. Our aim is to help students make their lives easier in third level education. With organising events, it’s essential to plan properly. For example, in order to organise an information literacy class, it’s important to know how many people could fit in the lecture theatre. If there is an interactive class, it’s important to know if the computers being used have the correct programs uploaded. In order words, it’s important to have an action plan.
As part of our first year library induction, we organised a scavenger hunt so that students could familiarise themselves with the library (we didn’t have enough staff to divide students up to bring them around on tours). For the scavenger hunt, we asked students to find a book on the shelves using a catalogue computer or their smart phones, find a location in the library and take a picture of it with the whole group and then post it to Twitter.
We asked for volunteers from the library staff to be stationed on each floor just in case any students had any questions. We also gave student clear instructions before the scavenger hunt. We told them we wanted them to become familiar with the library and find important things and places.
Initially, it was quite stressful. We were worried that we would not be able to fit all the students into the lecture theatre in the library building. We were worried that students wouldn’t be able to find their way around the library. We were slightly worried about the students not having smart phones (silly us, in fairness). Basically, we worried about everything that could possible go wrong.
As previously mentioned, we asked students to fill out a form so that we could determine that they actually took part in the scavenger hunt and so that we could pick out a winner (the lucky winner got an IPod Nano). On the form we also asked for feedback. As this was our first year of the scavenger hunt and this type of induction, we wanted to see what we could improve on for future reference. Luckily, the feedback we received was mostly positive.
I think it went well for a couple of reasons. The library orientation was a part of the broader university orientation so students participated in it without questioning it. I think the staff members being stationed on each floor really helped because it was easy to ask a question if students go stuck.
At the end of the scavenger hunt, we asked all our students to fill out answer sheets. As well as giving answers for the scavenger hunt, we also asked for feedback. We asked if they found the activity useful and if not, to please explain why. The results we got were quite positive. We received a lot of comments along the lines of ‘it was a good bonding exercise’ ‘it was good to meet new people’. This, in my opinion, was extremely positive
We did get some feedback that students would prefer a tour but that was to be expected. We would prefer to give them all a tour but it wasn’t feasible. The week of library orientation went surprisingly well. I think because we spent so much time thinking of all the possible things that could go wrong, we thought of pretty much everything.
For future reference, I think it could be possible to make the clues slightly harder. We were afraid that if students finding the quiz too difficult, they would quickly disengage with the hunt. I think it was a good idea to give student clear instructions and to tell them why they are doing it, I found that quite helpful. Overall though, it was a great experience and I learnt that library orientations weren’t as scary as I thought they’d be.