October 2009 Archives

First week of Walk-in

My fist week of walk-in hours was, I think, a big success. It was great to get all the logistics figured out at both Walter and Wilson before actually having students coming to the walk-in hours. Now we know for sure that the SMART laptops at Wilson can't hold a charge and that at Walter we need an extension cord. Doing a slow, pre-advertised week was also really good for strengthening my understanding of who does what within the library system and who I should go to if I have a problem. Getting better acquainted with Jim Hatten and Scott Spicer was great, because they're such great resources when I'm working in their space. 

I did get to work with a student on some research. She really just stumbled upon my table at the right time, and even though it took about a dozen preliminary questions, it came out that she had a paper due on Friday for her 1301 writing course... it couldn't have happened any better. Her topic was really specific- different energy uses of the Kalahari Kung, an African indigenous group. Our first two searches didn't yield anything, but after broadening our search a little we were able to find a few articles about the Kung. She was in a hurry, so we saved the articles to an Ebscohost folder and emailed them to her. Even though we were pressed for time at the end, I think she learned some of the basic search strategies we've been discussing in training, and I think she'll be able to navigate back to Academic Search Premier at the very least.

Some things to remember:
-Always look attentive and somewhat professional (I think the name tags really help!) because you never know who's going to find you
-Know your surroundings- I got several questions I couldn't have answered without having the SMART Commons explained to me before hand
-Log out of any UofM programs before working with a student- example I was logged into moodle, and when she tried to sign in to her email it automatically logged into mine
-Know your people- It was great to come in and have some familiar faces. I also introduced myself to a SMART tutor and explained who PRCs are and he said he would definitely send research questions that he gets my way.

Ask Us!

This week PRC training has led me to another invaluable research tool -- Ask Us!

The U of M library system has a very dedicated and talented group of librarians and they're here to help students! (Who would have guessed?) One of our  activities for this week was to  work with the ways librarians work with patrons to answer research questions. Watching a librarian at work and evaluating their actions has reinforced in my mind what good body language is and how it can open up a consultation for better results. Another way to ask a librarian a question is through an instant messenger program that is up and running 12/7. There isn't always a U of M librarian available to help, but through a network of librarians, someone is always available to respond. The online chat is amazing for those late nights when the library isn't even open! The interface is a little confusing, but it allows librarians to bring up pages they have found on the patron's screen. The chat log is sent to the patron's email address after the conversation so they can refer back to it after the conversation. In addition to face-to-face and instant messenger, librarians can be reached via email (individually librarians or through a centralized system that directs the question to where it can best be answered) and by phone. Knowing the various ways that students have access to librarians is very helpful to me as a student and as a PRC. This allows me to widen my information gathering skills and also refer students from my consultations to an appropriate resource if I do not know how to direct them.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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