An afternoon with librarians

Afternoon tea

Image by John George Sowerby (1850–1914) and Henry Hetherington Emmerson (1831–1895) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The other week I posted about my morning at Maine Academic Libraries Day.  After lunch how did I spend my afternoon there?

Karen Gillum (Colby College) gave us attendees a tour of her research guides.  The design was grounded in learning theories and techniques. Scaffolding was the concept that got my attention.  Instead of cramming one multiple-page guide with many things, Gillum had multiple single-page guides, each covering a skill in depth.  These guides–and the skills they convey–can build upon each other.

Beth Hoppe, Karen Jung, and Judy Montgomery (Bowdoin College) covered intentional assessment.  I was intrigued by how they had integrated a first-year information literacy survey into Bowdoin’s regular placement testing.  Students get feedback on their strengths and weaknesses.  Faculty get aggregate scores.  Everyone gets a better picture of what students do and don’t yet know.

Beth Dyer and Cadence Atchinson (University of New England) talked about using flipped classrooms with undergraduates and working on journal-level evaluation with graduate students.  This latter piece was a key take-away for me.  If we’re asking students to evaluate journal articles, shouldn’t we include the context in which these articles appear?

Of course the best part of the conference, both in the morning and in the afternoon, was getting together with other librarians.  Many of them are colorful characters.