Bibliographic Instruction: More important than you may think…

Last week I had the opportunity to sit in and observe a few bibliographic instruction sessions at the CofC library. One was for a freshman English class, one for Cognitive Psychology and the other for a business course on Managing Diversity. All of these are very different subjects so I was glad I got to see some variety.Even though these classes presents similar information, each librarian has their own teaching style. I know this from my education coursework background.

The technique for the English class was slightly different. The library has assigned an embedded librarian for the course and their first meeting with him was a scavenger hunts of library services. I thought this was an interesting way to go for an introduction to the library. In my opinion, the last thing students want to do is listen to a librarian talk at them for an hour. So they were split into groups and assigned questions. They were then given a time frame in which to explore the library and get answers. They were encouraged to interact with other library staff. Then, the class came back together and resented their findings. The librarian teaching the class supplemented information as needed.

I also found the class on Managing Diversity to be very interesting. These were International Business students and they were assigned the task of creating a training manual for managing diversity in the workplace in a chosen country. The business librarian walked them through the different databases that would help them find information on their topic. This class had a different focus because the students were there for a specific assignment and had likely already been introduced to some of the library services at a previous session.

Observing these sessions has been very enlightening. It is important for students to feel more at ease about using the library’s resources. These classes work towards fostering a positive library experience in the hopes they will continue to use the library for their research needs throughout their academic lives.

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