Conference and Presentation Report
of College and Research Libraries
By Carol Hansen
After attending the "Best Practices" conference last year, Tom Kirk from Earlham College invited me and Dave Eisler or Catherine Zublin to come to Charlotte to speak about how the Best Practices Characteristics had helped us informally assess and improve our program. Dave generously agreed to participate and we had a very lively and useful preconference session. After our presentation the day was organized around a series of excellent discussions on the Best Practices Characteristics document. Links to the papers we wrote, and our presentation appear above.
ACRL Charlotte was an excellent conference and I was also able to attend many useful sessions. Several of the most interesting sessions are summarized below:
Socializing Information: Research Libraries from Print to Packets. The opening keynote was by Paul Duguid, research specialist from UC Berkely who spoke on He discussed the importance of the libraries role in the community and the ever-changing role of information. He discussed the triangulation of material, its context and the institution of the library. He also spoke about the changing needs of the user.
Put Instruction in Your (Research) Agenda: This session offered an introduction to the Research Agenda for Library Instruction and Information Literacy. This recently published document was provided and then the attendees broke into small groups to discuss. This provided many ideas for future research and possible publications. The document is divided into four segments; learners, teaching, organizational context and assessment. The committee's web page is not to be found yet as ALA's page is in transition. It was located at: http://www.ala.org/Content/ContentGroups/ACRL1/IS/ISCommittees/Web_pages/Research/Research_committeee.htm
SF Bay Area Community College Information Competency Assessment Project: This was a poster session by Andy Kivel from Diablo Valley College in California. He was at our preconference and we ended up eating lunch together the first day. This competency exam is VERY similar to ours, which gave us each a great deal of satisfaction, as both had been developed completely separately. We will be sharing our exams with each other in the next few weeks.
Computer Anxiety in the 21st Century: This presentation discussed the wide range of computer anxiety that exists among a large number of people including faculty, staff and students. Anxiety is seen in people's behaviors (resistance, avoidance, procrastinating), emotions (fear, frustration, impatience) and attitudes (low level of self efficacy, self esteem, motivation). As today's teachers we are influencing the next generation of computer and library users so we need to take anxieties seriously and use teaching methods and activities that help students/faculty/staff best overcome their anxiousness.
Journey with New Maps: Adjusting Mental Models and Rethinking Instruction to Language Minority Students: Mental models are those "images, assumptions, and stories which we carry in our minds of ourselves, other people, institutions and every aspect of the world." These models can prevent us from critically questioning some of our long held beliefs and practices which may negatively impact our teaching and learning. In terms of teaching international students, we need to better assess our own mental models in order to update our profile and learn more about how students learn. We need to be more aware of how cultural patterns can impact learning styles and behaviors.
Online Tutorials for Library Instruction: Ongoing Project Under Constant Revision: This project from Cornell analyzed over 40 online tutorials, looking at the concept, design and technology. The speaker mentioned several good tutorials including LIBeRation, Data game, TILT, and Get Ready from the University of Oregon. She states the best tutorials contain: preliminary assessment, branching capabilities (ability to jump around), they are problem/discipline based, concept based, interactivity, and assessment. She also brought up the importance of being sure tutorials were cost effective. URL for this presentations is http://www.mannlib.cornell.edu/reference/instruction/OnlineTutorials.ppt.
@ your library (info on the ACRL campaign): There were several handouts and pamphlets with information on ACRL's new campaign to better market and showcase the value of the academic library and librarians in the 21st century. This is called "@ your library." The web site with additional information is http://www.ala.org/@yourlibrary/ click on "Academic and Research Library Campaign."
Exhibits: I didn't spend much time in exhibits but I did sit in on a presentation at Ebscohost on their new A to Z product. It looks like a big improvement on Serial Solutions, but it will probably cost more? I also looked at some of the UN statistical sources online, those would be nice.
On a personal note: I saw Ruby and Jill, they are both doing great and send their best regards to everyone at WSU.