Again I started the day on the reference desk. I had one scheduled Personal Research Session which I thought would be an easy session. But I’ve learned one of the golden rules of Reference librarianism…nothing is as simple as you think. When the student asked for the session she gave us one topic. Which I know not to automatically assume that’s the topic they really want to write on. But normally the real topic is in the same vein but more narrowed down. However that wasn’t the case this time the student had already changed their idea to something completely different. So I wasn’t really ready for that. I relied heavily on the reference interview only to discover that their topic was to contemporary and perhaps to narrowed. As the geographic area they wanted to focus on was not known for allowing literature on activities that weren’t generally globally smiled upon. I told them they would have problems finding anything but a few articles and they weren’t going to be scholarly. But they were gung ho about doing that topic so I did my best and I really focused on connecting with them. So when it it that they were not going to be able to write the paper they envision but it was still due in a couple of days they would know they could come back and we would be there to help find an easier topic. Let’s be real that’s part of the job right? Easing the pain.
At any rate this was the first time I experience conflict with in my own mind about helping a student. Because I as a person wanted to say, “Point blank this is a bit to much and is going to lead to a heart of headache for a class asking for short assignment.” But as a librarian I felt that it wasn’t really my place. In the end they could write an awesome paper and do it with out any problems. They had a lot of passion about the subject matter so I’m wishing them a lot luck.
After lunch I taught my last class of the semester. And I am going to be quite honest with you, it was the hardest class ever! In the course of preparing for the class on Scholarly Website I realized how little I know of such things. In my research I don’t really use websites, outside of those maintained by newspapers and the occasional government site. So it took me a while to get familiar with these sources. My lesson ended up touching on ways to evaluate a website and the types of websites. I stressed how hard websites are to categorize because of the nature of the internet. But to use their best judgement as critical researchers and do their due diligence. We went over citing the web and even that’s a hard thing to master. APA doesn’t even mention how to do so in their manual. I pointed them towards the WFU MLA Libguide.
After class I went for my hours in Preservation. I learned how to fix the spines of cloth bound books. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was even able to snap some shoots of the process. I’ll be doing a separate post for those. During my time there we had some great discussion on the future of music and books. Great time.
Thursday saw the same schedule as Tuesday. I finished working on the APA guide, in the MLA guide there’s a separate tab for online databases. APA doesn’t make a difference between things found in a database and those found elsewhere online. So now I’m trying to see if there are certain examples that should be pulled out without redoing the whole book. Also the MLA has screenshots of the examples with annotation of the parts. The problem is the program used is on the librarian’s personal laptop. Not to mention the quality of the screenshots vary. Some are fuzzy and not really legible. Others are small and much clearer. My OCD won’t allow for that much difference. So I’m waiting on word from my supervisor.
After lunch we had the class complete Assignment three. Which called for them to find a website for their topic then to create a presentation where they picked one website out of the group as the best source for their topic. They had to show us why it was better and everyone had to speak. I think everyone kind of struggled on picking a webpage that their partners hadn’t already chosen. I think everyone automatically gravitated to the government pages. So I tried to push people out of the box to .edu and .org sites. Because I really wanted to see if they understood how to tell a better one out of an okay one. I felt for the marijuana group as I knew there would be tons of sites with random people toting the benefits of making it legal and they had no credentials to speak on the topic what so ever.They’ll be presenting next week as we ran out of time helping them all with their sites.
Preservation was fun once again. I continued on fixing spines and playing in glue. I hadn’t played with glue since grade school and my time in Interior Architecture.
This week lesson was of course in Preservation. I’ve had lessons on how to fix paper back books in order to extend their life for a couple of more months at best. But now I can do some real preservation. I only wished I could have done some work with Japanese rice paper but at last the librarian had a personal mini crisis and had to leave.