Year One

This past Sunday marked the one year anniversary of me matriculated from library school. I can hardly believe how fast this year has gone. I decided to look back on my capstone and compare the five year professional development I wrote and what has happened this year.

For a recap here is what I wrote a year ago:

Year One: January 2011 to December 2011

Career

  • Take on a practicum at Wake Forest University’s library: Z. Smith Reynolds Library in the Research and Instruction department to gain experience in reference services, library instruction, and general academic library experience.
  • Graduate from UNCG’s Master’s in Library and Information Studies program – May 2011.
  • Find, apply, and gain full time employment in an academic library, in a position that focuses on research, reference services, instruction, and technology.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

  • Continue my membership in professional associations (American Library Association and North Carolina Library Association).
  • Attend conferences, nationally and/or statewide, to network and learn of new trends in the LIS field.
  • Provide mentoring help with the new cohort of Academic Cultural Enrichment Scholars.

Publications

  • Apply for research grants to continue research previously started, (i.e. Modern Teens and Library Usage).
  • Submit end product of Public Library Design and Technology to scholarly journal for publication with Dr. Chow.

Here’s the breakdown:

Career

The spring of 2011 I did in fact complete a practicum at Wake Forest in their Research and Instruction department. I taught a total of 3 classes as part of a Library Instruction course and complete many hours on the reference desk. You can read about my practicum here. I graduated from UNCG with an MLIS in May of 2011, a very exciting time and nerve-wracking at the same time. In September of 2011 I found, applied and gained full-time professional work at the public library in my hometown.

Professional Growth/ Maintaining and Updating skills

This year I will not be attending ALA but I did attend NCLA and PLA online. It has been a bit more challenging than I realized to continue in the professional association as well as get more involved in these associations. I do hope to do better in year two. This past year one of the second cohort ACE Scholars did their internship at my library and in my department. I actively tried to talk to her not just about the library school program but also the field as I’ve experienced so far. I’ve also had conversations with other interns here and people who by happenstance are applying to the program this upcoming term. It’s always strikes me as odd when I find myself having these conversations and actually having an opinion and things to share with people who are in the same place I was just a short time ago.

Publications

I was able to present my research with my professor at the NCLA conference this past October. And that’s as far as publication has gone. I realized that there was a lot more research and observation that needed to happen. This is still an goal of mines but I’m not sure when that will get checked off.

Looks like I’m settling in nicely into the library field…yay!

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The First Month

While sitting on the reference desk yesterday with my supervisor a regular customer came up and asked if I was the new staff member. My supervisor eagerly said yes and introduced me, saying I had been there for about a-…it was at this time we both looked at each other and realized that I had been there for one whole month to the day. The time has flown by…or at least it feels like it has. I can’t believe that it’s been a whole month. I think I’m adjusting great well.

My supervisor congratulated me on my first month and she’s really pleased with how I’m fitting in. Which is a big thing as she was not in on the hiring process, they were doing multiple positions and wanted to save time and energy. So only the big wigs were in on the hiring process. The department heads could only hope they got someone who would fit in. I’m sure that was a scary time for them. For her to say I’m so glad we got you, means a lot.

Looking back on my first week (part 1 and 2)I’ve started taking on more irresponsibility. I’ve worked my first night alone in the department and I’ll be doing my first weekend shift the beginning of next month. I’m serving on my first committee and starting to meet with librarians outside of my branch.

Yesterday I spent the morning down at our Government Center having a New Employee Orientation, which was surprisingly really fun. People who work for the local government are hilarious!

It still feels weird to know that I’m finally working in the field that I’ve worked so hard to get to. And I can only hope (I’m going to work real hard to make it so) that I keep this happiness that I get from it.

Thoughts on Instruction

With the end of my practicum coming to an end and teaching my last class I thought I would write down my thoughts about instruction. When I first sat down with the Assistant Director of ZSR Reference dept. we talked about me teaching a class or two. I was both interested and intimidated at the same time. All I could think about was I had decided to go to Grad school because I didn’t want to teach. You see back then I was convinced I didn’t have the patience to teach nor did I have the understanding needed. I wasn’t confident in my own skills.

What changed? I did basically I think in the last two years I’ve done some major growing up. While I still have some issues with tooting my on horn (but I’m getting better) I now know I’ve skills to share. As the semester continued I went along collecting information from the librarians about their jobs and journeys. But in the back of my mind I knew the time was coming when I would have to stand in front of a group of students not munch younger than me. In all honesty I think it was the support of my supervisor and the Instruction Librarian I co-taught with that helped so much. They were both critical in my preparation and they were very eager to share their thoughts with me.

Class One

My first class was on Zotero. I was nervous and using a new tool, Prezi. I started the class with an introduction then walked the class through download and install of Zotero in Firefox and the Word Plug in. With a few hiccups we moved on to me showing how to pull in material. I had a whole lesson worked out to show different materials, what to do when it didn’t automatically pull in the information and then making a citation and bibliography using Zotero in Word. Unfortunately I ran out of time. I didn’t take into account the speed and level students would catch on. For future reference I would cut down on the introduction and just jump into the download and install.

Class Two

My second class was another big one as I had to lead the class alone, as my co-teacher was away at ACRL. So I was extra nervous and again I was using a new tool. I was using power point with the clickers. Which involved learning a new program…TurningPoint. I joked with one of the other librarians that I wondered if the whole class would show up. Of course the whole class showed up and we went through Scholarly Journals fairly quickly. Most students know about journals, well they know they exist. They might not know how much the library pays for them or why they should use them but they know there’s something called Journals. What surprised me, although it shouldn’t have, was that no one had used the Journal Finder tool and I don’t think any of them had used a database really. So the tips I shared was to not start in Journal Finder as it would just make life harder. For future reference I would have had them do an activity to show that they understood. Since I knew we would be talking more about them the next class I let them go a bit early.

Class Three

Scholarly databases and citing journals. By this time I thought I had the hang of it. I was focused on timing and making sure I got the lesson across in whole. I think I made my co-teacher proud. This time I didn’t do a presentation I used the library webpage to give examples. By showing how to do searches using their topic search terms I think I engaged them better. I made sure to stop and ask for answers to questions and asked if I was loosing anyone. I should them general and subject specific databases and had the general citation format written on the white board. For an activity I asked them all to find a relating article and pull it into Zotero for the next class. It was interesting to see those who used the databases I talked about and then to see them use the boolean searching and truncation tips I shared. None of them knew about these two things before hand. I felt proud of myself.

Class Four

The last class was a major challenge. But by this time I was more comfortable talking about sources, the weakness and strengths of sources. So I told them about a million times websites as sources was a tricky thing to master. Citing them would be even harder. I made a point to look at what others were saying about the subject, ZSR has a page about website sources and links to two other college’s thoughts. This helped a lot on pulling my own thoughts together. For the class I again relied on actual examples…but I felt it wasn’t as interactive as I might have wanted. For future reference I want to come up with better ways to communicate something that I’m not as skilled in.

My Overall Experience

I think between shadowing and actually teaching my experience has grown 100%. I’m more comfortable in front of the class than I thought I would be. And I enjoy it immensely, which is a great surprise to me. There’s a lot of things I still need to learn about, like timing, engaging the students, and communicating a tricky subject matter.

I would love to hear about other people thoughts on Bibliographic Instruction. How did you feel the first time you taught a class? Any tips you would like to share?

Practicum Day 13 and 14: Library Instruction

Library Instruction Room

Image by bulibraries via Flickr

This week was the start of the second half of the semester for my site. Which meant new set of Library Instruction classes. I had spent the first half observing a new librarian but this half I was partnering up with a veteran. We started a couple weeks back by going over the syllabus and emailing the students with the notice if they were going to stay then please stay and if not then go ahead and drop so those who really need the credit hour can join. In the end we had 15 students. I ended up picking three classes I wanted to teach myself and we were set for Tuesday. Well Tuesday came and two students didn’t show up and one student show up thinking she would just be added to the class without asking the professor ahead of time. Even though it was okay the librarian made her worried because he wanted her to learn an important lesson. The first class consisted of introductions and then we had them do a find it activity in the library. They were already split into groups and they had to find a specific department and ask some questions. They had about 15 minutes to do this then they had to come back to class and prepare a Powerpoint to share with the class. (My site gives their freshman laptop as part of their tuition). The presentations were actually pretty funny given they had only 10 minutes to put it together.

Thursday found ourselves with a good amount of adds and drops but some how it managed to equal out again. We did some questions using the clickers to introduce research planning. The students seemed to enjoy the clickers as they aren’t very talkative, however we introduced some candy in the mix and that got them going. I think they were just hungry, we have the noon class…their minds are already on lunch when they come in. Next week we’ll be talking about actual research and finding sources. I added a fourth class that I will be teaching as the librarian I’m working with found out he will be out of town. So in total I will be teaching a class on Zotero, Databases, Journals, and Citations. Thursday I also observed my supervisor teach another BI (not to be confused with Bald Iguanas) class as well as her Library Instruction course. Her format is different from the one we’re employing as we are working with groups and she is allowing them to work individually. Plus the topics are different.

Next week I’ll start packing in a lot the two days I’m there. I’ll be continuing my hours on the reference desk (which is getting busier every day), then I’ll have my class, starting a new round of one on one meetings with all the staffs and then working 2 hours in archives. I couldn’t be more excited about it.

I’m enjoying working with on this class with the particular librarian as he’s so fun and excited about it. I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of weeks from him, for instance figuring out how to do a time line for an instruction course surrounded around a research project. Also preparing for a BI class, emphasizing the point is that the students know we are there to help. I’ve even had a couple of them come to the desk and ask for help on other projects and papers.C