Ryan Bean: October 2010 Archives

Libraries in the WSJ

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An article in the Wall Street Journal this morning talks about a new threat to the public library system, book/DVD vending machines and lockers. I don't think book vending machines will be the end of academic libraries. However, they could be a great way to continue serving patrons beyond business hours and/or an option for reducing service hours. As a bonus the article is about Hugo, MN so that is pretty cool.

Assessing Impact

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With the reality of resources becoming scarcer, we are encouraged to be strategic in our outreach efforts. What we mean by strategic is up for debate. It could mean moving away from one off instruction offerings towards a more standardized one-size fits all approach or targeting instruction opportunities perceived to have the most bang for the buck. However being strategic shows up in your instructional outreach, I do not think it truly becomes strategic until you are able to show the impact of your offering, be it a one off or a general session. 

A very good article Kate Petersen pointed my way illuminates the need for special collections to show their value by demonstrating the impact of their instructional outreach. It seems to me that this article is relevant to not only special collections but all library instruction. The authors point out that most research libraries report to ARL but ask, what are we really reporting; head count and sessions? While the numbers can become impressive over the year becoming clear that a lot of something is going on the true impact of our efforts can become lost in the numbers. Luckily the authors do suggest several ways to capture impact. It almost seems like the libraries should be attempting to leverage the impact factors John Jeffryes posted about last week. 


http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2010/articulating-value-in-special-collections-are-we-collecting-data-that-matter/



Recently the Instruction Coordinators Group, created a short evaluation form for workshops. This quick and easy assessment was made using Google docs and is intended to help staff improve their instruction by getting patron feedback. While intended for workshops the evaluation  can be used to assess any instruction offering. For instance, I recently hosted a two day course integrated session for an honors history class. I sent the assessment to them and received great feedback. One student said that they found most helpful, "The information regarding how to find, identify, and utilize archival materials. The workshop improved my ability to identify the purpose of a given material and cite it." 

That is great, it is exactly what I was aiming for. However they also said "More information regarding how to use MNCAT and find archival materials outside the university system." would make the session better. I really needed to hear that since I can tend to overemphasis the aspects of archival research that energize me and give short shrift to the pieces I find more tedious. Now I can make sure I build in a more intentional treatment of searching next time.

If you want to send out the evaluation to a workshop or class you work with simply email them the following URL(http://z.umn.edu/ulworkshops)


About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Ryan Bean in October 2010.

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