Thursday, November 15, 2012

Let's Build Something

First, I would like to thank Rebecca for taking the initiative to organize a time and place for us to meet back in October and share what is happening in our respective academic libraries. Now, it would behoove all of us not to wait another four years to meet. I fear that lapse of time would render us in another presidential campaign.

Perhaps we need a mission statement and a few common goals.

Because there are so many organized groups out there focused on information literacy, it would be helpful to give our group a clear scope with some common issues that would make us unique, and thus, more practical and beneficial.

With that said, here are my thoughts to start the ball rolling:

1.     What clearly makes this group unique is our geographical proximity to one another, and, more specifically, our local economy. At the end of our meeting, we briefly discussed Allison Head’s most recently published research called "Learning Curve: How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once they Join the Workplace." This should prompt the question: “Are Worcester area businesses and government agencies running into the same problems as the employers in Head’s research?” If we can determine the answer is yes, then I would suggest starting to build relationships with those businesses/ organizations that match-up with any major areas of study our colleges offer. The core of any information literacy program should have practical application at its core. I say, give the students a real problem to work on.
2.     The universal issue we all face, and was expressed by the majority of us, is the “buy-in” we need from students, faculty, and administration. Can we systemize the approach? We are all at different stages of building IL programs. Let's put that data together.
3.     If we could create an embedded information literacy program in our colleges that would extent through the student’s academic career, what would the outline look like, and, can we build a bibliography to support it?

That is plenty out of me - thank you all again for this opportunity to collaborate.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Notes from April 2010 Meeting: Give a Man a Fish or Teach a Man To Fish?

Thanks to Christine Drew at WPI for submitting her notes.

Academic Research Collaborative - Reference & Instruction Special Interest Group
April 16, 2010 MWCC
Heidi McCann at Mt Wachusett CC offered future prof dev opportunity:
EBSCOhost training Pamela Ericson will be teaching their faculty 5 of the EBSCO databases throughout their “professional development day” on Tues 5/18 & Wed. 8/25 contact Heidi if you’d like to attend.

Give a Man a Fish or Teach A Man To Fish?
The 9 regional librarians in attendance discussed “teaching” vs. “giving answers.” Although at the reference desk this can be situational, all academic librarians present agreed we focus on teaching students, not handing information to them. We hope to ensure the students retain the “know how” vs. “know that.”

Questions that surfaced include: libguides, are we handing the info to the students in a “pre-fabricated way?” Do these simplified guides hinder student learning? Also, federated searching, is this making it too easy as well (serving info up on a silver platter)? Sara Marks discussed her use and success with Youtube videos for students at Fitchburg State. She feels they can save staff time at the reference desk and the videos prove to be popular. Some of the use however could be from other non-FSC users.

Phil Waterman mentioned “librarians shouldn’t be the only ones teaching students to fish.” He espouses the need for librarians to partner with faculty. Also, Phil mentioned the time constraints we have, often very limited time to teach students the competencies they need.

Matt Haggard mentioned a useful citation maker called KnightCite at Calvin College’s web site, similar to Bibme and other citation helpers.

In Other News:

Sara Marks has accepted a position at UMass Lowell and will no longer be chair of the IG.  Kelly Jo Woodside of Assumption College will be the chair for 2010-11.  Watch for details about upcoming meetings.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring 2010 Meeting: Give a Man a Fish or Teach A Man To Fish?

Date: April 16, 2010
Time: 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: Mount Wachusett Community College

Topic:  The next generation of library guides has opened up a huge debate: how much information should we be giving our students vs. how much we should teach our students to find information for themselves?  Databases now provide us with search box widgets to add to pages giving students easier access to their searches.  They not provide us with RSS feeds that can be embedded into services like LibGuides to provide students with articles on searches we design.  Vendors like Credo Reference are creating topic pages that provide us with Reference collection summaries and then allow us to push students directly to databases of our choice for the scholarly and popular articles.
Where do we draw the line between giving them the content and teaching them how to find it themselves?  This meeting will be an open discussion on this very issue.  Bring your examples of how you are addressing this issue at your library and in your instruction sessions.

RSVP to Sara Marks by Friday, April 9, 2010

Directions and map to Mount Wachusett Community College

Park anywhere in “North Parking Lot C” (very few classes on Fridays so there should be plenty of parking close by). No permit needed. Enter the building, then look for signs.   I’ll post signs pointing towards the library. We’ll be in the Library Instruction and Research Lab, Room 071 on the lower level of the library.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Rick Anderson's 5 Sacred Cows of Librarianship

Rick Anderson spoke to the Kentucky Library Association at their Spring Conference. His PowerPoint Presentation, Five Sacred Cows of Librarianship: Why They No Longer Matter, and Why Two of Them Never Did, was recently posted to their blog after many requests for it.
Why am I posting it here?
Good question!

This presentation may be of great interest to those who are very interested in the subjects of collection development, reference services and information literacy. He took on the topic of ownership vs. access when it comes to our collections, how we manage our collections and how reference is not a scalable service. By scalable, he means that we can not handle an real increase in demand for this service.

I don't know if I agree with Rick just yet, but he makes a strong case. Read over his powerpoint and feel free to make your comments about what you read and how you feel about this topic.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Notes from 10/2/2009 Meeting: Weeding the Reference Collection

Attendees: Dan Gallagher, Jeanette Lundgren, Sara Marks, Heidi McCann, Ellen Madigan Pratt, Pamela McKay, Doreen Velnich, Larry Spongberg, Phil Waterman, Barrie Mooney

Margaret Cardello from CMRLS led a discussion regarding weeding the reference collection.

You will find Margaret's handout at the end of this entry.

Why do we need to weed? We do it to have the best information, to get rid of outdated information, to change the focus of our collection, to support new courses, use our money effectively, to remove items offered electronically or to create space. Libraries are significantly cutting their print collections entirely or just some of it. We are reacting to shifts in collections as well as so much great free and pay information online. Some put their reference collections in their general collections. This is because many people want to take items home and use them there.

In our discussion a number of questions came up and were discussed.
  • How do we make the decision about what to do? Some discussion focused around collection development policies. We need to make sure our policies are up to date and there to help us make decisions about what should stay and go.
  • Who has the final say in what is kept and what is removed? When it comes to the reference collection, do reference librarians have the final say? Some libraries are having critical debates between librarians about these issues.
  • How should the faculty be involved in the decisions? Some faculty think that print materials are not current research. Should we keep the books they want kept in the collection? There was discussion about letting them have a say before the final decision is made, but to not let their input be only reason we keep a book. It was suggested to let a faculty member take their favorite item if they are the only one who wants to keep it.
  • Should we move these items to the general collection? Some people felt that doing this would encourage more use of those items. Other commented that multiple platforms should be avoided. Don't keep an item you have electronically.
  • How do we decide what to move? Some suggested it was arbitrary. If an item is never used, remove it when you see it. Others commented that it was serendipity: see it, look into it, replace, keep or discard; link to free online.
  • Should electronic reference books go in our OPAC? Many felt yes, they should to make sure people know they still exist. You can easily do this with many reference e-book collections like Credo (they come with MARC records). Talk to your Tech Services librarian or catalogers to make this happen.
Barrie and Phil, from Assumption, explained how they spent their summer going book by book to make weeding decisions. They keep it all on a laptop so they can work on it together. They have had to put it aside for the summer.

Sara at Fitchburg State said they are barcoding all their reference books to help them track usage before they go through another round of weeding.

Worcester Public said they are keeping a number of items in print that other have moved to electronic (encyclopedias for example). They feel people want to just go to the book and get the answer if they come to the library. Signing on to a computer and locating the electronic item takes too much time.

Heidi and Ellen, from Mount Wachusett Community College, said one of their colleagues looks at to find the current selling price for rare books to determine if they should keep it. They also mentioned a special collection of old nursing books they have. They asked about a CMRLS policy regarding the need to keep a book if they are the last library in the area with it. Margaret thought the policy only applied to Worcester Public Library. She also suggested that the quality of the content help us determine if we keep books in those situations.

Links to Consider:

Help support your fellow librarians:
- Send Sara a link to your collection development policies. Over the next few months she will post an entire entry about collection development policies for those who need to build or update theirs.

- Add your own comments to Margaret's handout. Are there other criteria that you use, but we didn't discuss? Do you have resources you found helpful? What is the procedure you follow to weed titles?

Weeding the Reference Collection

ARC Business:
- Next meeting will take place in April/May. Everyone agreed we wanted to wait until the weather was better for driving, but not at the same time as other conferences and big meetings.

- We decided to select a topic that had been discussed at the Spring 09 meeting: Information Literacy in K-12 and Public Libraries. We invited the Worcester Public librarians to participate.

- There was interest in having Liz Vezina from Cushing Academy to see if she can come and talk to us about Information Literacy in their new learning center.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Update For Fall SIG Meeting details

Registration for the Weeding the Reference Collection program is growing more popular all the time. We are opening this up to the public. Registration will be done through the CMRLS website. Priority will be given to the Info Lit and Reference SIG members.

In case you missed it, the program is at D'Alzon Library at Assumption College

Directions to Assumption College
Campus Map
No Permits are needed to park. If you look for #4 on the campus map you will see the lot where there is free guest parking on the upper deck. There are also a few spots in a dirt lot next to the library.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall 2009 Meeting: Weeding the Reference Collection

Date: Friday, October 2
Time: 2:00 - 4:00pm
D'Alzon Library at Assumption College

Topic: Margaret Cardello from CMRLS will be speaking to us about weeding the Reference collection. We are all asking the same questions about our Reference collection:
  • How do we decide what to weed from our collections?
  • Do we remove them or move them to another collection?
  • What electronic collections and e-books are available?
  • Should we add books to the collection after a big weeding projects?
Margaret will help us gain a better understanding of these issues and more.

Please RSVP to Sara by Wednesday, September 30th.

Directions to
Assumption College
Campus Map
No Permits are needed to park. If you look for #4 on the campus map you will see the lot where there is free guest parking on the upper deck. There are also a few spots in a dirt lot next to the library.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Notes from 3/6 ARC Meeting at Mount Wachusett Community College: Next Generation Research Guides

Attendees: Christine Drew, Jeannette Lundgren, Tina McAndrew, Pamela McKay, Corinne Smith, Sara Marks, Heidi McCann, Louise Collins, Ellen Madigan Pratt, Jess Mynes, Nancy Boucher, Dale Labonte

Sara Marks, Instruction Services Librarian discussed Fitchburg State Library's use of libguides.

Their library web site has many links, not search boxes, and few staff could edit the web site. Libguides provides them with an easy way to create web-based research guides, course research pages, and many staff can edit them. Sara teaches from a libguide when doing library instruction session.

Features they use include: tabs for organizing their libguides pages, polls, embedded YouTube videos, meebo chat, options for end users to rate links and leave comments. Sara look at the usage statistics & their citation page receives a lot of hits. A great feature is the link checker.

Sara created a short video for faculty on how to post libguides links within their Blackboard course site. She is also working on updating many screencasts which she plans to post into YouTube and post within libguides. Caveat Emptor: IE browser has trouble displaying embedded videos wthin libguides, she demonstrated using Firefox.

Sara also creates a libguide for programs, speakers and events they have at their library, which can include linkes to books, a biography of the speaker, and a calendar.

FSC Archives staff are using it to post some information, photos on their special collections, including a page on Robert Cormier, the author.

Heidi McCann, Reference and Instructional Services Librarian, shared information on their libguides implementation at Mount Wachusett Community College

Heidi serves as webmaster for the library and despite initial aversion to libguides, wanted to give staff more control. They paid extra for their custom URL (subjectguides).

She does not teach using libguides, but creates a guide to send to the faculty to distribute to their students after the library instruction session. The libguide serves as a summary for the students.

Faculty are enthused about libguides & impressed with it - so watch out, you don't want to become only a "libguides creator."

Libguides has great tech support but there are some minor annoyances she's found including:
-pop up not default for links
- privacy settings and google indexing or no indexing not easy to figure out, but tech support helped with this.

There's a lot of potential they haven't yet converted all guides since they just got access to it last year

Alternatives to libguides
  • open source software created by Oregon State: Library a la carte - must have good relation with your IT department or control of your web site
  • Microsoft Sharepoint - required university login at most schools
  • Blogs or wikis (see BizWiki at Ohio State )
  • Improving library web site and/or use of Content Management System (CMS) such as drupal
  • Google sites - if you don't have control over your library site
  • Blackboard or course management system: create guides within course shell

ARC Business

Leadership 2009-2010
- Sara Marks will be Chair
- Ellen Madigan Pratt will be secretary

Ideas for future meetings
- k-12 librarians, teachers & how they teach information literacy
- use of federated search in teaching information literacy
- future of the reference collection & weeding (talk with CMRLS staff for speaker ideas since they have a workshop on this topic)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Spring 2009 Meeting: Next Generation Research Guides

The spring meeting will be held at Mount Wachusett Community College Library.
Date Friday 3/6 2:00-4:00

Topic: Next Generation Research Guides
Heidi McCann will share information on their libguides implementation at MWCC and Sara Marks will discuss the Fitchburg State Library's use of libguides.

Park anywhere in “North Parking Lot C” (very few classes on Fridays so there should be plenty of parking close by). No permit needed. Enter the building, then look for signs I’ll post pointing towards the library. We’ll be in the Library Instruction and Research Lab, Room 071 on the lower level of the library. If people are lost en route, call 978-630-9338.

Bibliography for Engaged Teaching and Engaged Students

Michele recommends the following sources.

Bruce, C. (1997). The seven faces of information literacy. Auslib Press.

Bruner, J. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bruner, J. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cardiff University. (2007). Handbook for information literacy teaching. Available at:

Cook, D. & Sittler, R.L. (Eds.). (2008). Practical pedagogy for library instructors: 17 innovative strategies to improve student learning. Association of College & Research Libraries.

Elmborg, James. (2006). Critical information literacy: Implications for instructional practice. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(2), pgs. 192-99.

Jackson, R. (2007). Cognitive development: The missing link in teaching information literacy skills. Reference & User Services Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 4, pgs. 28-32.

Jacobson, T.E. & Xu, L. (2004). Motivating students in information literacy classes. Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Ragains, P. (2006). Information literacy instruction that works: A guide to teaching by discipline and student population. Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Rockman, I. (2004). Integrating information literacy into the higher education curriculum. Jossey-Bass.

Schwab, J. (1962). The Inglis Lecture. The teaching of science as enquiry. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Schwab, J. (1978). Education and the structure of the disciplines. In J. Westbury & N. Wilkof (Eds.), Science, curriculum, and liberal education . Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57 (1), 1-22.

Sparks, D. (1992). Merging content knowledge and pedagogy: An interview with Lee Shulman. Journal of Staff Development, 13(1), 14-17.

Smith, F. (2007). Games for teaching information literacy skills. Available at:

Ward, Dane. (2006). Revisioning information literacy for lifelong meaning. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 32, 4, pgs. 396-402.

Template for a Lesson Plan

Michele Reich shared this template with attendees.

Goals: Overarching and long term. Derived from ALA/ACRL standards for information literacy and your school curriculum regarding information literacy and research behaviors.

Objectives: Support the achievement of goals and are stated in terms of observable and measureable behavior. See

· What do you want students to learn as a function of having spent time with you?

· Here you would target depth of understanding, refinement of skills, and application of knowledge.

· Incorporate Bloom’s Taxonomy for the Cognitive Domain within and across objectives.

Prerequisite Behaviors: What students need to know or to be able to do before learning the new behaviors (objectives).

Materials: What you will need in order for the learning activities.

Learning Activities: Opportunities for students to achieve the behaviors stated in the objectives.

· Develop at least one learning activity for each objective. Try to incorporate more than one objective into each learning activity.

· Keep in mind timing; pacing, roving.

· Sequence of each learning activity (and lesson plan as a whole) is: motivation; advanced organizer; prerequisite skills; presentation of content, processes, skills; practice; assess; re-teach.

· Includes teacher talk; team practice with assignment; student talk; teacher talk.

· How much time will be given for each learning activity? Also include how much time assessment and evaluation will take.

Assessment Activities: How you and the students will know they achieved the objectives. Incorporate opportunities for assessment into learning activities.

Evaluation: What went well? What changes would you make next time? Why will you make these changes? In combination with the assessment, it answers the question what will need to be re-taught and how.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Classroom Engagement Strategies Notes from ARC Meeting, October 17, 2008

Organized by Michele Reich
Notes from meeting
Use name tags!
· Good teachers remember students names
· Making connections w/students and developing relationships
She asked us to jot down what we hope to learn today, how we hope to learn, and how we know we’ll learn what we hope to and demonstrated that our responses are the framework for parts of a curriculum: ask yourself what you want students to know, how they will know and how they will know they know.

Good teaching… includes:
· Caring
· Active/social/interactive, possibly use movement
· teachers who organize and promote learning
· learning by taking action, possibly social interaction
· Students have something to engage with, to build on prior knowledge
· Teachers who walk around classroom, move around room
· Teachers who get to misconceptions b y asking students why they are doing what they are doing

Information vs. Knowledge Literacy
Michele suggests we think of it as “knowledge literacy” and that students are looking for knowledge not information like a phone number or citation. She suggests that subject liaisons get to know the professors and ask them how these particular folks think about knowledge and how it is created in that area. Instruction should be tied to the discipline and that an authenticate task be part. Have students look at research articles to help them understand components of research.

Michele feels that use of PowerPoint does not help students learn, no chance for them to pick out important points.

Review learning theories and pick one “that resonates” with you. For example, Piaget, you take action on a world, that’s how you learn. Another is the “zone of proximal development” by Lev Semenovich Vygotsky.

Michele shared an example she used at UMASS medical center which demonstrated the idea “template of a lesson plan.” She suggests that you give them an agenda for the session and sequence activities. Balance student and teacher talk, with much time for students to think aloud.

MWCC has three hours with their students and they integrate assessment by having the students present during the last hour. There are six that teach and they have standardized their handout and objectives. Ellen asks students for “library horror stories” to get across point. QCC starts with students where they are using Wikipedia, online research, why they may read Rolling Stone, etc. which engages students.

Michele suggests asking a trusted colleague to sit in a specific class with specific questions about your teaching so they can give you feedback. Web Sites on Engaged Learning will be posted soon!

Spring Meeting at Assumption College Library
Tentative Date 3/10 2:00-4:00 Topic: Next Generation Research Guides
Heidi McCann mentioned she could share information on their libguides implementation

Monday, June 16, 2008

Next Meeting: October 17

The next meeting will be Friday, October 17 from 2:30-4:30pm at WPI's Gordon Library. The discussion topic will be Classroom Engagement Strategies and will include a presentation by Michele Reich.

June 12, 2008: Meeting Notes

The Library's Role in First Year (FY) Experience and Orientation


Christine Drew (WPI), Callie Curran Morrell (Assumption), Pam McKay (Worc. State), Patty Porcaro (Holy Cross) Barbara Merolli (HC), Eileen Cravedi (HC), John Coelho (HC), Gudrun Krueger (HC), Alice Barron (Anna Maria), Laura Robinson Hanlan (WPI), Michele Reich (WPI), Carole Myles (Assumption), Jim Douglas (Nichols), Matthew Haggard (Nichols), Donna Sibley (Becker), Jeanette Lundgren (Becker), Dale LaBonte (QCC).

Meeting Notes

To focus the discussion, the group defined First Year Orientation as a short-term program prior to the start of classes. First Year Experience was defined as larger and more sustained program, and might include a First Year Seminar (a for-credit course designed for First Year students).

Most attendees do run some type of library orientation programs for all students, and most of these activities are integrated within the college’s own efforts, rather than being run independently by the library. Most attendees’ colleges also run First Year Experience (FYE) programs and in most programs, the Library plays some type of role.


At Becker, there is a FY seminar where students learn “what they need to know on campus” from different departments. The library gets to teach one week’s worth of classes for each section and covers the OPAC, databases, citation, plagiarism, starting points for research, and has different activities for students. They do about 20-22 sessions total.

QCC librarians get one session to talk about the library as part of a FY course. They also often get one in a Career Development course.

WPI does a lot of optional activities during orientation, including tours and handing out prizes, but they don’t necessarily reach every student. This year they are thinking of throwing a first-year party. By next year, all FY students will be in enrolled in a FY research seminar and the librarians hope it will result in students getting more uniform instruction in their freshman year. This FY program has its own Assessment Coordinator, and a few questions on the assessment survey focus on the library, so it is hoped that they can get some useful data.

At Worc. State, there is a FY seminar for which students choose a subject-based class and the Library often gives a BI session to them, based on the discretion of the professors.

Nichols gives a library tour and basic instruction to the FY Professional Development Seminars (about 22). Small groups also complete an activity-based, self-paced tutorial, available at Jim Douglas is willing to share the library handouts given to students and parents during orientation if group members are interested.

Holy Cross will be introducing a new FYE this fall, with students living and taking a seminar in one of five possible clusters. Each cluster has its own librarian and it is hoped that as the program takes shape, each librarian will be able to play a significant role in their cluster. In the past they've done a treasure hunt during orientation and Eileen Cravedi is willing to share their treasure hunt worksheet to group members who are interested.

Assumption is also piloting a new FYE program this fall in which a group of self-selecting students will live together and take “paired” classes (currently 3 pairs offered), which will emphasize connections between different subjects.
Library instruction is not mandated, but through outreach to the participating faculty the library staff is hopeful that they can offer IL instruction to these new classes.

Please see post below (6/12/08) for further reading and resources on this topic.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Select Bibliography of Resources on the Library and First Year Programs

Brief list of articles/resources on our current discussion topic:

Bissett, Susan J.C.. “Situating the library in the first year experience course.” Community & Junior College Libraries 12.2 (2004): 11-22.

Boff, Colleen and Kristin Johnson. “The library and first-year experience courses: a nationwide study.” Reference Services Review 30.4 (2002): 277-287.

Bullard, Kristin, Allison Bolorizadeh, Kawanna Bright, and Lavergne Gray. “Options for integration: creating a flexible library research module for the first year experience curriculum. “Tennessee Libraries 57.1 (2007): 1-4.

Jacobson, Trudi E. and Beth L. Mark. “Separating wheat from chaff: helping first-year students become information savvy.” JGE: The Journal of General Education 49.4 (2000): 256-278.

Kasbohm, Kristine E., David Schoen, and Michelle Dubaj. “Launching the Library Mystery Tour: a library component for the ‘first-year experience.’” College and Undergraduate Libraries 13.2 (2006): 35-46.

Lindsay, Elizabeth Blakesley. “A collaborative approach to information literacy in the freshman seminar.” Academic Exchange Quarterly 7.3 (2003).

A good web site for this topic is: The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition ( Including “The First-Year Experience and Academic Libraries: A Select, Annotated Bibliography,” located at


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Next meeting: June 12

Our next meeting will be Thursday, June 12 from 2:30-4:30 pm at WPI's Gordon Library Anderson Lab A . The topic will be The Library's Role in First Year Experience and Orientation.

Directions to WPI:
Park in Boynton Street, Library Lot.

Friday, January 11, 2008

January 8, 2008: Meeting Notes

Getting the Message Out: Facebook, MySpace, and Creative Ideas

Please see post below (11/26/07) for list of resources and further reading on this subject.


Fyiane Nsilo-Swai (QCC), Carolyn Noah (CMRLS), Pingsheng Chen (Worcester Public), Pam McKay (Worcester State), Alice Barron ( Anna Maria), Carole Myles (Assumption), Rachel Shea (Clark), Laura Robinson Hanlan (WPI), Lynne Riley (WPI), Ellen Madigan Pratt (MWCC), Christine Drew (WPI), Dale LaBonte (QCC), Mary Brunelle (Assumption), Callie Curran Morrell (Assumption), Barbara Merolli via web (Holy Cross)

Description of if/how attendees are using free social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace.

WPI- Several librarians have individual Facebook profiles (either personal or professional) and recently they created a Page for the library—a new Facebook feature. In the month since, they’ve received 23 “fans.” It includes library screen savers, short videos, hours, JSTOR and Worldcat search applications. They have an official Facebook Statement, including goals for the site, measures of its success, and steps for planning their profile.

MWCC- Ellen has a personal Facebook profile, but she would only get students she sees in the Library everyday. Doesn’t see it as accomplishing outreach.

Assumption- Some librarians have individual profiles, but have not really used it for reference. More social relationship-building with a few students who they know.

QCC and Worcester State- Not doing anything in social networking realm right now.

Clark- Rachel has a personal Facebook profile which she has used to let her Facebook friends know about events. It seems to work well for this.

Holy Cross- the main library is using it some.

Marketing/Promotion Ideas

There are lots of “Facebook apps” or applications that are already developed and available for you to add to your profile (check the Facebook group FacebookAppsForLibraries for lists). One is a bookshelf application- has potential for libraries to use to market their new books. (This idea similar to Clark’s Leisure Reading Bookshelf which is a visual display of cover art of leisure books, but links to the catalog record.)

Another marketing idea was to build and link to a library news blog, or a calendar of events. Libraries could post videos or tutorials on the Facebook page. Penn State offered a nice raffle prize to students for becoming a Facebook friend, and was able to gain lots of student friends through this method.

Fall semester, WPI tested out the Facebook flyer option ($10 for 2 days; to WPI undergraduates) about an event. They have no idea or way to track if anyone saw it.

Assumption is currently working on filming instructional commercials for its library and in addition to youtube, etc. may put the finished product on Facebook.


Some attendees had concerns or hesitation about whether students want them in “their territory” or whether maintaining a Facebook presence was necessary even though it would likely be some new site in the future. Some responded to this with their feeling that it’s a way to make ourselves more accessible, pointing out that our territory is not just the library building. Another concern was brought up about keeping an individual profile professional and not too personal (or vice versa, if individuals had planned to use it outside of work). There was a feeling that you need to keep it balanced, perhaps with some harmless personal info (since it is a norm of the medium), but not too much (ie, political leanings, etc).

In addition to MySpace and Facebook, wikis, blogs, and other social technologies were discussed. Assumption, for example uses a wiki at their reference desk to keep all ref librarians abreast of current assignments or issues, and as a repository for answers to FAQs. Worcester Public has a Children’s Blog and the Regional Reference Blog. MWCC has a blog to advertise to faculty and likes that it is less intrusive that constantly sending an email. They also keep their Library Policy Manual on a wiki for easy access and changes. Christine at WPI briefly demonstrated social bookmarking tool; it can be used to share appropriate web sites for a course with students. GoodReads is another social networking site that lets you see what books your “friends” have, are, or would like to read.

ARC Strategic Plan

We again discussed the new ARC strategic plan and its goal to have this SIG organize an Information Literacy symposium for a larger community. Timing would be in 2011. Possibly want to ask NELIG or others to collaborate.

The group recommended that a symposium steering committee be made up of at least one representative of the ARC directors, as well as some representatives from the SIG. It would be helpful to have rep’s from both community colleges and four-year colleges.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be on The Library’s Role in First Year Experience and Orientation. It looks like it will be either June 10th or 12th. Please let Callie ( or Christine ( know if one works better for you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Next meeting: January 8th

Getting the Library Message Out: Facebook, mySpace, and Creative Ideas

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 8th 2:30-4:30pm
Location: WPI Gordon Library, Anderson Lab A

We'll be sharing information about the use of social networking sites and other creative ideas to promote the library's services, resources, and instruction.

WPI Directions:
Campus Map:
Parking in the Boynton Street Lot behind the library is recommended, and will not be a problem as WPI is on Winter Break.
Please RSVP to Christine ( 508-831-6163)
No parking pass needed.

If you would like to attend this via web conference, contact Christine by 1/7 @ 5pm.

Resources & Additional Readings

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fall 07 Virtual Reference: Sharing Experiences

Tuesday, October 9th 2:30 - 4:30 PM Host: Patty Porcaro, Holy Cross Library - Scalia Electronic Classroom
Join the ARC Information Literacy and Reference Special Interest group for an informal afternoon to learn more about virtual reference offerings, experiences, and best practices when performing on online reference interview. Attendees will be invited to share their own experiences as well as new reference/information literacy happenings at their libraries.
Campus Maps:
Parking: Free/Hogan Center, no pass needed

Agenda & Readings

ARC Virtual Reference Meeting Notes

Attendees: Patty Pocaro Holy Cross, Diane Gallager Holy Cross, Christine Drew WPI, Laura Robinson Hanlan WPI, Alice Baron Anna Maria, Heidi McCann WCC, Barbara Morales both Holy Cross & Anna Maria, Carol Myles Assumption, Callie Curran Morrell Assumption

Attendees talked about virtual reference offerings at their institutions.

Holy Cross participates in collaborative effort
24/7 Association of Jesuit Colleges & Universities virtual reference
19 (out of 28) colleges in the US across 3 time zones, some colleges have dropped out for various reasons (staffing issues, lack of marketing, etc.)
Contract with who covered midnight-2am, after 7pm on Sundays. librarians are located all over but they cannot contact them directly, this is the only academic group that has as a client, Patty feels they serve the group well
Holy Cross monitors 4 hours per week (max 2 hours at a time), larger Universities monitor more hours. Reference librarians do not do this while trying to staff the desk at the same time.
Listserv for institutional coordinators to communicate & annual meeting
When to work schedule system is used.
Each institution does their own marketing – Holy Cross sends emails to their students, and there is a spike when this message is sent
Quality Control coordinator, transcripts are provided for all with names of responders
They have logins for the other universities databases in order to serve the other universities patron because they are servicing their students
Each participating college has a link on the 24/7 system so that it makes it easy to find some basic info (databases, journal holdings, policies, etc)
Part of the mission is “to instruct” not just to respond to question
Reference interview – fast paced, need to be quick though in your interactions
Assumption does IM using Trillian 9am-10pm M-F, Sunday 9-3pm while at reference desk they try to keep as ready reference, but sometimes refer student to visit library, advertised as “quick answer” service, but sometimes they get a bit too involved then they suggest they phone or stop by, seems to be used by students, and one administrator
Mt Wachusett Community College is use Plugoo when library is open 7:30-8:30pm, consistent low volume since started in 2001. They ask if chatter is a student
WPI uses Trillian and chatango – we get questions from mainly students, but some non-WPI questions, usually just quick, staffed while at reference desk
Anna Maria does not offer virtual reference chat at this time

Patty also mentioned that from 3-6 & 6-9:30pm they use student reference assistants at their reference desk to help answer questions.

Guidelines or Recommendations for Virtual Chat Interactions
Brainstorm by group

At first contact introduce yourself and role if need be

  • For some clarification of status (student of institution or not) WCC uses triage, to determine to refer patron to WCC subscribed resources or to refer non-students to public library resources
  • Sometimes they send a link to one of their canned online tutorials if useful (Problems Logging in, Requesting a Book through the Catalog)
  • Some feel that some canned responses may be useful for chat if traffic increases, but use is steady, but not overwhelming so most have not created templates for responses
  • Communicate timeframe if you are going off to search for something:
    just a moment, I am checking that for you
    polite to also keep them posted on progress
  • Acknowledge the question and sometimes paraphrase back to assure you are on the right track
  • Sometimes ask users what they have already tried
  • Respond in shorter bursts, so that the end user is given timely feedback, input and doesn’t stray away
  • Medium lends itself to being more informal, mimic user, okay to use txt shorthand if users are, :-) use smilies if they are
  • Suggest that the user go and try a specific resources, and to check back in a minute or two while you continue with difference strategies
  • Ending the transaction with questions, invitation to come back for help: Does that help? Is there anything else we can do for you? Would you like more research suggestions? Some librarians give out personal email to follow up. Sometimes ask for users email if you wish to follow up with them later
  • Sometimes staff use their own chat service to send links and mention quick things to staff at reference desk, the utility of virtual chat can be a productivity tool
  • More comments or suggestions?! Add others to the blog if you think of more.

    New Chair/Secretary
    No volunteers for chair, Christine agreed to continue for one more year. Callie agreed to take the secretary role. We discussed meeting schedules and the group determined we would like still like to meet twice per year.

    ARC Strategic Plan - Christine
    - Exploring use of new technologies for meetings
    - Symposia idea – Information Literacy & Assessment

    ACRL NE and NELIG could possibly partner for an event in 2010-2011 or ARC could host its own event. The group felt it was a fine idea to pursue but we will discuss at future meetings.

    Customer Service SIG has waned and surveyed people to get a sense of what types of discussion they would like to have. Nichols held the last meeting, it was out of the way for some. Barbara said they will be planning a meeting for this SIG after responses from the survey come in.

    Next Meeting, Date, Topic, Location
    Getting the Library Message Out: Facebook, mySpace, and Creative Ideas
    Tentative Date: Friday January 11 @ 2:30 @ WPI

    Assumption found in a Facebook option to target messages to the community (online flyer) but have not tried that (for a small fee).

Upcoming Events:
Assumption’s citation help night is tomorrow
@ WPI Scare fest: Library Services & Vendor Fair 10/31
Save the date: Heidi reminded us about the NELIG meeting: November 30 Friday – Library 2.0 with breakout hands-on campus, Leominster Campus of MWCC

Friday, March 23, 2007

March 5, 2007 Meeting Notes

Laura Robinson Hanlan, ILL and Reference librarian at WPI, conducted a lively session reporting on her efforts to improve service to students, faculty, and other library users. She based her efforts on information literacy standards. Training for staff and student workers, particularly student supervisors, is achieving a daily transformation. Students and library staff demonstrate the reference interview, exploit teachable moments, and empower the person seeking information, all through an emphasis on instruction over delivery.

In her PowerPoint, Hanlan highlighted some of the tools she designed for “training the trainers,” including mnemonics and scenarios. “Reference is about HELP,” she offered. By HELP, she means “Helpfulness, Educating yourself, Listening and asking questions, [and] Positive closings.” This deceptively simple scheme is also a vivid reminder of ways to greet patrons, prepare oneself with knowledge of what is available, examine requests, and confirm that the seeker is satisfied with the outcome. Scenarios, rather than offering a memory support, help in visualizing experiences staff are likely to encounter. These offer concrete examples of interactions and practical guidance in ways to make them amiable and productive.

One highly desirable outcome of this approach is the peer support student workers are able to offer to students looking for help with their research. But student staff are cautioned not to guess. Instead, they bring patrons with complex questions to reference librarians, who can in turn offer feedback to student workers about their handling of these referrals.

Other WPI library staff reported that members from all levels and various departments are involved in frequent half-hour training sessions. These allow staff to share different services and skills.

Librarians from the other ARC libraries described their methods of inserting information literacy either formally or informally as part of the training of student and support staff and enlisting faculty. At Clark, student worker training is offered in multiple sessions at the beginning of the academic year, while at Holy Cross training occurs as needed. At Worcester State, with only one full-time reference librarian, cross-training of staff and modeling the research process with students (by guiding them through the steps and narrating the thinking process, rather than just providing the desired articles, books, etc.) are two means of transmitting expertise in doing research. At Quinsigamond, viewing the faculty as a target audience during the instruction sessions has increased formal information literacy instruction. The instruction librarian at Fitchburg State, Sara Marks urges faculty to match timing of instruction sessions with the syllabus time-line for research projects.

Librarians at Worcester State, WPI and Holy Cross commented on the use they are making of web-based software to mount handouts through Sharepoint or on Blackboard/WebCT, and to use Chat sessions as opportunities to teach the research process.

Christine Drew asked the group to respond to the ARC Steering Committee’s question: what do we think is the charge of the information literacy and reference IG? In the ensuing discussion, veteran members said the twice-a-year meetings have been more instructive and better attended than the quarterly meetings of the WACL (Worcester Area College Libraries) standing committee. We concluded that our purpose is to network on current trends and issues in information literacy and reference, and to continue meeting twice a year to learn and share.

Future meeting topic was suggested on the topic of Virtual Reference services and Patty Pocaro from Holy Cross may be able to host the fall 2007 meeting.

Attendees: Alice Baron (Anna Maria), Callie Curran Morrell (Assumption), Christine Drew (WPI), Dale LaBonte (QCC), Fyiane Nsilo-Swai (QCC), Laura Robinson Hanlan (WPI), Larry Spongberg (Assumption), Rachel Shea (Clark), Patty Pocaro (Holy Cross), Elizabeth Maisey (Assumption), Mary Brunelle (Assumption), Lynne Riley (WPI), Debbie Verhoff (Fitchburg), Sara Marks (Fitchburg), Jan Wilbur (Assumption), Linda LeBlanc
(Fitchburg), Pam R. McKay (Worcester State)

Friday, February 02, 2007

March Meeting - 3/7 2:30 pm @ WPI

WPI on Wednesday March 7, 2007 at 2:30.
Anderson Lab A - Gordon Library WPI
One level down from main entrance off PC lab.

(Term break so park anywhere in Boynton St. Parking Lot)
Encouraging Information Literacy Among All Library Staff
Laura Robinson Hanlan, Interlibrary Loan & Reference LibrarianLaura will describe her experience with reference & ILL staff training as well as reference/information literacy training for student circulation desk supervisors at WPI.

Please bring your own reference/IL staff training programs & ideas to share.
R.S.V.P. to Christine Drew

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

SIG meeting 10/25/06

ARC Reference & Information Literary Special Interest Group Meeting
October 25, 2006 Assumption College - Emmanuel d'Alzon Library

The focus of this meeting about assessment was a presentation by Assumption librarians Carole Myles and Callie Curran Morrell on “Library Instruction & Program Assessment.” Assumption College reference staff began a process this past summer to try to standardize instruction and explore possibilities for assessment (measuring student learning) and evaluation (determining the effectiveness of teaching).

In terms of assessment, their presentation showed the progress they have made to date in using a pre-test/post-test system, which they have begun to analyze. Another strategy they use in advanced classes is to ask students two questions: Tell us something you learned; Is there something you still find confusing? Responses indicate to librarians things they want to emphasize in their sessions, and areas where students are not receiving what instruction is intended to convey. Qualitative analysis of these responses may be attempted with ATLAS software. Carole and Callie said they also hope to begin a collaboration with a faculty member that will allow them to review student bibliographies.

For evaluation, the librarians hope to measure efficiency and effectiveness through a combination of data collected on instruction sessions, through surveying students, by soliciting feedback from faculty, and using self-reflection.

The SIG attendees suggested ways to refine the pre-test/post-test questions as well as considerations about sample size and methods of obtaining feedback from students and faculty members. Other information literacy assessment tools including ICT and Project SAILS were mentioned. Librarians in this group of ARC libraries were not using any of these, but many had done or are about to do LIBQUAL surveys. WPI has an assessment cycle for faculty to evaluate student e-projects (which can be viewed online) including the reference lists. Several librarians are doing literature reviews on bibliography analysis—maybe we should assemble this list of citations to share it.

Christine Drew (WPI) opened the discussion of compliance with ARC governance structures. Following a brief discussion she volunteered to continue to act as she has been to organize and inform the members of the meetings. The next one is planned for spring break in March. Dale LaBonte (QCC) agreed to act as secretary for the SIG. Sending a representative to the ARC meetings was not settled.

Members felt that it would be beneficial to use funds leftover from WACL for to hire training consultants Decker Associates in Needham to deliver a session based on our needs as teaching librarians. Christine suggested doing so in conjunction with the CMRLS calendar of workshops so that as many librarians as are interested could attend.

Christine noted that the NERCOMP Annual Conference to be held in the DCU center on March 19-21, 2007 has a track for librarians. ARC librarians may want to take advantage of the Worcester location. NERCOMP—Northeast Regional Computing Program—is an affiliate of Educause.

While we were assembling, we got to watch and comment on two YouTube videos. The first was "Ray of Light", produced by the St Joseph County Public Library; we also saw a promo for Refworks produced by Arizona State University. At Assumption they have these running as students are arriving for library instruction session. Later in the session, Christine showed us some challenge exercises she offers as transition or sponge activities for students who finish an in-class project early, while they are waiting for other students to finish.

Next meeting is planned for WPI on Wednesday March 7, 2007 at 2:30.

Alice Baron (Anna Maria), Barbara Merolli (Anna Maria), Callie Curran Morrell (Assumption), Carole Myles (Assumption), Christine Drew (WPI), Dale LaBonte (QCC), Elizabeth Maisey (Assumption), Larry Spongberg (Assumption), Laura Robinson Hanlan (WPI), Mary Brunelle (Assumption), Rachel Shea (Clark)