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Best Practices in Library Instruction

April 19, 2010

Doug Cook and Ryan L. Sittler took a tag team approach to their keynote presentation at the PaLA Library Instruction Roundtable (LIRT) workshop on April 16, 2010. They used some hands-on examples from their book, The Library Instruction Cookbook (published in 2009 by ACRL) to demonstrate how easy it is to incorporate active learning into information literacy instruction. Some techniques included using the Telephone Game to determine where primay sources end and secondary sources begin, using clues placed in coffee cans to determine which database would be the best for specific questions, and writing a haiku poem as a form of self-reflection about one’s research.

Doug is Reference Librarian/Professor at Shippensburg University, and Ryan isInstructional Technology/Information Literacy Librarian /Assistant Professor at California University of Pennsylvania. If you weren’t able to attend Friday’s program, you can sign up for their Preconference, Practical Pedagogy for Library Instructors, which will be held from 1:00 to 4:30pm on Friday, June 25 at the ALA Annual Conference.

Following the keynote speakers was a Best Practices Panel. Larissa Gordon shared how Arcadia University Library used mini-grants to foster faculty-librarian collaboration; Margaret Montet and Willliam Hemmig shared how they enhance an embedded eBrarian program at Bucks County Community College; and Kelley Beeson shared how the Allegheny County Library Assoication used 23 Things-n’at to create an non-threatening environment for library staff to learn about Web 2.0 technologies.

A second panel featuring assessment followed the lunch break. In addition to Hedra Packman, who spoke about how the Free Library of Philadelphia uses a variety of methods to assess the variety of instruction programs they provide, there were two presentaions on assessment in academic libraries. Tom Reinsfelder, from the Mont Alto Campus of Penn State, explained how PSU used the SAILS Test for incoming students at select PSU campuses. They administered the test before any Information Literacy instruction had been done in order to establish a baseline for students’ knowledge about Information Literacy. This enabled them to identify what was the most important skill set for librarians to teach. When asked about testing upper level students, Tom indicated that it would be difficult to re-test the same students since the original test was administered throught faculty class time. Olga Conneen presented a rubric that the library is using to assess student learning outcomes for a library assignment in the “Achieving the Dream” program at Northampton Ccommunity College. Though active learning, she demonstrated how the librarians were able to improve this assignment by evaluting interrater reliability.

Bonnie Imler, Altoona Campus of Penn State, the day’s final presenter, compared the feature four screen capture software options and included some tips for using this type of software for online tutorials.

This workshop was partially funded with Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds administered by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries and would not have been possible without the help of the College and Research Division of PaLA.

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