Thursday, 11 September 2014

Start-of-Term and Library Induction

It's back to school time! I don't know about you but I spent most of the summer preparing how we're going to welcome our new students when they will arrive mid-September. So it's the perfect time to go over the different methods we can use to pass on to our new readers the necessary information for them to use our services at the best of their abilities.

The guided tour still reigns

If you've got the human resources to do so, giving guided tours of the library on enrolment day is really ideal. It combines direct human contact (you talk with them, they can ask questions), and a context less favourable to mid-day naps than the conference in a lecture hall...
In my library, it's unfortunately impossible. First, our space is so small that giving tours wouldn't make much sense. Second, we just don't have enough woman power to deal both with registration and potential tours.
The problem is that tours are extremely time consuming and repetitive (the groups need to be small enough to be able to go around quickly and without too much noise, so you have to do it ten times a day). So it's not always possible to set up for librarians, nor to insert in the students' busy schedules.

The self-guided tour

It's been on my list for years, but I still haven't had the occasion to pull that up. It's great for quite big libraries and allows you to be really creative!
The idea is to give students some material (paper instructions, podcast, tablet app...) that will entice them to go around the library (you can use baits such as hidden chocolates in the stacks... and the visit becomes a treasure hunt!) and teaching them at the same time what they need to know about the premises (using panels, QR codes linking to short videos or audio files...).

I went to one of Phil Bradley's workshops this year and saw him demonstrate the augmented reality app Aurasma. When you capture a trigger image (for example an image set up in a strategic point of your library), it automatically opens a link or a file (a video for example). This would be ideal for this kind of self-guided tour, using tablets loaned by the library or the students' own smartphones (they would just have to download the app).

Class intervention

Another classic of the library induction is for a librarian to come to the lecture hall during enrolment day and give a short talk. The problem is that you usually only have a few minutes and that the students are so overwhelmed with information on that day that you can expect... that they won't remember anything.
Which is why we should try and make something a bit memorable so that, even if they don't remember our opening times or how many volumes they can borrow, they will have a positive vision of the library and its librarians, which will make them more susceptible to come to see us and ask us questions.

The cephalonian induction doesn't need to be presented anymore but I saw a presentation of a colleague who created a twist: instead of handing cards to students with questions on it, she created a big cardboard die for them to roll. They then have to read the question written on the top side. It's really playful and well received, even with adults. The only problem is that you can get the same side several times, so you have to roll the die again. And, if you don't want to spend hours on a geometry problem, you're going to have to limit yourself to six questions.

I personnally would like to play Library Bingo with my students. Two possibilities: you either give them bingo cards with, instead of numbers, logos related to the library. Then you get your presentation going (like this Prezi from Zoe Thomas) and the first one to get all the logos on her card wins.
Or you can ask students to create their own bingo card by writing down, for example, six resources they think they can find in the library. Then you show them your list of resources (starting with the hardest ones...) and the first one to get all of their resources mentioned wins.
In both cases, you explain as you go the significance of the logos / how to access the different resources. The material investment is minimal: you can print bingo cards yourself and you just need a PowerPoint presentation. And the public stays attentive as they want to see if the next item will be on their card. Apparently, it works even better if there's a little prize for the winner...

Online induction

A last possibility would be an online induction. It's a good way to reduce the anxiety of those intimidated at the idea of going to a library (yes, I hear they exist) and especially to reach out to those we wouldn't have the occasion to meet live, because of time constraints, of multiple campus complexities, long-distance learners or students with a disability.
It can be a virtual tour, using pictures or videos associated to different rooms a bit like this virtual visit of Gloucestershire university.
But more than places, we also need to present services. Here again, possibilities are infinite, from a nice prezi to induction videos. It would be great to be able to use different medias so that future readers could get the induction they would be the most comfortable with.
I'm personally working on some induction videos for the students I won't be able to see directly (some groups have a very tight schedule) while creating specific sections on our Moodle especially for them.

And you, how are you going to welcome new students this year?

No comments:

Post a Comment