Practicum Week: Day 19 and Day 20

Tuesday started with time on the reference desk. Which gave me some much-needed time to finish up some last-minute details and conduct another Personal Research Meeting with a student. This time the topic was political science and dealing with tax havens. I’ve only taken one course in political science and that was a 101 course. Luckily there was a Research Guide that my supervisor had created for the course. So I ran through the guide and when the student came I sat them in front of the computer and starting asking a lot of questions. More questions that probably any other Librarian would have asked but I really needed the student to narrow down her topic. It was for a 100 level course and only 6 pages. Thankfully they already had a specific location they wanted to talk about. And soon we got it narrowed down to “How tax shelters in the Caribbean affect the people in those countries and how it affects the US economy.” We found one article in a general reference journal that spoke directly to that topic. Which was a great starting point for them, I explained how they could search out the references to gather more information. Then I explained how to conduct a search in the database and that they needed to play around with the narrowing tools to narrow down their results. Since they didn’t need many sources to get 6 pages. We also talked about websites as their topic is an ongoing theme. They were very adamant that her professor didn’t want websites. So it was kind of hard to get through her the difference between scholarly websites and general websites.

After lunch I taught a class on Scholarly databases and citing a Journal. I opted not to do a presentation but instead I had notes and I talked while showing them the steps overhead. I also had them follow along on their on laptops. I tied in the examples with their group topics so they could see how to take their general topics like Nuclear Energy or Online Privacy and get results that would help them on Assignment 2. After I showed the databases, I had them take some time to explore and find an article to pull into Zotero for next class. Then I went over how to cite a journal using MLA. I wrote the general citation on the white board and walked through it. This was all for them to be able to do Assignment 2 for the next class. Which we told them over and over. Because last Assignment we had some students run late because they used a good chunk of time searching for sources. After class I went to work with Preservation for the rest of the day. I help pull an exhibit together for a conference at the end of the Month. This included gathering photos and bios of the speakers and cleaning out the old exhibits.

Thursday I was finally able to find the time to finish up the APA LibGuide that I’ve been working on since for half of forever. Finding my own examples and create it from scratch took longer than I thought but I know that it’s right and I’m not in danger of impugning on anyone’s copyright privileges. When I looked at other Libguides on APA at other schools I noticed that they used the same examples that can be found in the book, on OWL Perdue’s website, or they didn’t give examples just the general format. Knowing that the MLA guide is the top used guide I wanted the APA to be just as useful. Now I’m just waiting on my supervisor to go over it and give suggestions on things. I didn’t have any research meetings scheduled so that gave me the time. I did have one student as for help, I ended up referring him to another Librarian as his topic was very broad and he didn’t fully know what he wanted. And my questions weren’t getting us to a good spot. Once the librarian was done it ended up being she had to give him a topic, which I wouldn’t have been able to do.

After lunch we did Assignment 2, and again their were students who didn’t have an article for the assignment. So while some students got to leave early, as the assignment wasn’t that big of a task. We still had some students run late. On the positive side they were using the databases I showed them. I saw them using the general databases that I showed them and then moving to the more subject specific ones that I pointed out and showed. They also had to write how they conducted their search, they used the tips that I showed (truncation and boolean). While we were in their we had them do a mid-class survey about how the class was going and anything they wished we spent more time on. Turns out Zotero was kind of the big thing they wanted to know more about. Which I’m on the fence about it was my first class but at the same time they seem to want to know about things I hadn’t covered. So I don’t know what to think of that. And I’ve done two classes since then on things that none of them had used, Journals and Databases and they seemed to be okay with those things. After class I did an hour in Special Collections again and then I covered the reference desk for my supervisor. It was a great difference being on their during the afternoon and being on their during the morning. More walk-in students came for help. Some who had attended a BI class that very day. I booked a personal research session for Tuesday while on the desk.

My Thoughts
I know almost every post I gush about how much fun I’m having and how much I’m learning, so I’m not going to do that this time…SIKE! No seriously, I’ve just never met so many people who are so supportive of me learning how to do their job. Ha! I’ve had some good and some bad times in the library but before this I was venting to friends about how I was beyond ready to start putting all the theory and ideas to the test of what was really in the field. Now I’ve got this chance to do just that I’m kind of overwhelmed. My supervisor has been so great in allowing me to get as much experience as I can. I also think the fact that a good number of the librarians went to UNCG for the MLIS helps. I think I’ve made marked improvement in reference services, which has helped me with my own research skills. Being exposed to different subjects means I’m looking at new databases and journals and sources that stem new ways to think about any given topic. Going back to my first posts about instruction and now, I think, “Wait is that the same person.” I took on the extra class last week with no hesitation. Next week is my last class to teach and I’m already thinking if I can squeeze in another one. I’m loving it so much.

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