Monday, February 28, 2005

Library Skills versus Literacy Skills

I am part of a project to help English TAs (lower levels English) incorporate information literacy into the curriculum. This is important is because we, the institution as a whole, might be adopting an information literacy assessment test that all graduates must take – and pass –in order to graduate. So basically I am part of a pilot test. It’s all very exciting, and I am fortunate to be a part of such an undertaking. Of course, adopting this test is a long way off, and it might not ever happen. But I’m still excited about it.

My role in the whole thing is as consultant and mentor to a set group of TAs. Part of the program is either revamping a current assignment or creating a brand spanking new assignment, both which must incorporate info lit skills into the assignment. What is frustrating for me is getting the TAs to understand what information literacy consists of (yes, I realize I ended this sentence with a preposition – get over it). I just received a proposed assignment from one of the TAs that focused on library skills - not info lit skills. My role is not to be the police. They can do what they want for assignments. But sometimes I just want to say, “Look, making a student check out a book in Library A should not be the outcome of this assignment. Writing down the hours to Library B should not be an outcome either.”

Every meeting I feel myself interjecting with a few suggestions, similar to the ones listed above, yet not so bluntly. After reviewing the assignment sent to me today, it makes me want to pull out my hair. I can remember being a freshman and not knowing how to search for information; however, I DO NOT remember being a freshman and not knowing how to check out a book, or not knowing where to find Journal A or Book B. Those things I kinda just learned on my own, either by watching others or by asking a librarian.

Needless to say, I have sent out an email encouraging my group of TAs to provide resources for their students to utilize outside of class, if they need help with library skills...but leave the assignments to the meatier goal, which is information literacy. If they can do that remains unseen. Does anyone else have issues similar to this? Besides offering clear and concise examples of what constitutes information literacy skills, and assignments that incorporate these skills, I am not sure what else to do.

More to come...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Put a lid on it

I don't get. I didn't get it a few years ago, and I don't get it now.

What's the BFD about allowing beverages in libraries? I mean, B&N, Borders, and many other locally-owned bookstores allow patrons to either bring in beverages, or will actually supply a cafe of sorts to sell beverages to patrons. Aside from some extra work that the presence of beverages in libraries may produce (selling, cleaning, monitoring, etc), wouldn't it be a boon for libraries to adopt a new rule, allowing beverages?

Where I work, an academic library system comprised roughly of 14 libaries (this number is actually debatable, but that is a whole 'nother story), only about 4 years ago did we adopt the policy to allow beverages within the libraries...AND only if they are to arrive in containers like this or this. I guess I shouldn't complain, but I'm going to anyway, and you will agree when you see what ISN'T allowed: cups with lids like this. Huh? Can someone please help me understand the logic, or lack thereof, as to why I can't bring, let's say a Starbucks to-go cup, into the library, when I can bring a travel mug in? Would anyone like to take a shot at this?

Grrr. It just pisses me off that this is happening in what is considered to be a place of higher learning. Yet we have librarians and library administration of the old school mindset who are resistant to change. I am actually pretty astonished that we have made the change over from the good ole card catalog to an OPAC!!

Fortunately, we have a new dean of libraries, and I am pretty sure his mover-and-shaker work ethic will help us move towards less strict - and less asinine- beverage rules. In fact, I hear he has already met with people (who these people are I have no idea) to discuss a coffee cart for at least one of the Libraries. Really, even if all that is changed is to allow a Starbucks ToGo cup (as we have a Starbucks in our student union plus oodles of other coffee houses just off campus), then I will be happier than a kitten with a bowl full of milk. Really.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Lone Trainer

I mentioned in my previous blog that I am getting a new boss. No, he did not get fired, nor promoted…but rather placed in a fabulous, newly-created position that I will not blog about b/c he likes to Google himself every now and again…

But anyway, as of December 31st at 12 midnight, I will become the sole employee in my already itty bitty department, otherwise known as Libraries Staff Dev & Training. Yep, what was once 3 employees full will dwindle to uno…ein…one little ole me.

Am I scared? Am I planning to sabotage the Libraries in retaliation? Do I even know what I am getting into?

Well, yes. Yes to the third question, that is. It’s not a huge deal. I go with the flow. Sometimes I freak out, but rarely about anything I have little control over. Such as my soon-to-be job predicament.

My New Years resolution for 2005: I'm going to eat Wheaties every single day.

Friday, December 17, 2004

More Email Drama

As I have blogged before, I have little patience for colleagues who either take days to respond to an email, or just plain ignores my emails. I understand that certain people "appreciate" a phone call instead of an email, but there is nothing in my messages that would seem inappropriate for this medium. And really, people, we have been living with email for over 10 years now, so get used to it.

I was told by my new boss (a whole new blog posting yet to come, believe me) to contact her when I am ready to sign up for an instructional design class. When she told me this, it was nearing the time to register. Classes fill up fast, and if you snooze, you lose. I emailed her leting her know which class I was interested in taking. I emailed her asking her to please respond with her ideas on this particular class (problem-based learning), as I would like to start the registering process ASAP. I never - yes, NEVER - heard back from her. Needless to say, since she never responded, and she is too busy to meet (another blog posting, I'm sure of it), I never signed up for the freaking class.

Fast forward to little over a month later, when have a meeting with her, she asks me the status of the class that I had emailed her about. Huh? I was speechless. I should have replied, "Well, you never replied to me, so I didn't sign up." But no, being the docile employee I am, I simply stated that I did not sign up for it, and left it at that. She didn't even pursue asking for a reason...I assume she doesn't give a rat's ass about my professional development. Hmph.

Currently I am emailing instructors (our faculty libs) asking them if they are interested in teaching certain classes (usually obscure subject-specfic databases or an e-resources class on a particular subject area), and I have this feeling that I will get minimal response. It doesn't helop that this is the holiday season, and people are already on vacation. And you would think that if a professional were to be out of the office for any length of time that he or she would set up the Out of Office Assistant. But nooooooo, that is too much of a bother.

Are faculty librarians elsewhere this out of tune with email and its tools? Or that to be professional, you might have to actually email someone back? Grrrrr. And if any faculty libs read this and think it is unfair of me to even suggest making this sweeping statment about the unprofessionalism of fac libs and email, then please, please, please try to help me see differently. I beg of you. I would love to understand why someone would ignore my email message or take days upon days returning a message.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Why this...

you ask? Because I wanted to allow myself the pleasure to rant and rave about my job. I would like to be able to separate my life somehow - on one hand you have a somewhat normal gal, and on the other you have the tech trainer who also happens to be a librarian.

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to not just work for a great institution, but to work in a setting that I love (library[s]) and do what I love (training). However, I need to be able to write about my life as the librarylicious trainer that I am, without crowding the normal gal blog.

It's all about keepin it separate.

First entry ever

Testing, testing, 123.