Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What if everybody read the same article?

Today's guest post is from Susan Gilmont, who is a Library Technician with Guin Library at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. She writes about how she and her team are working together to re-imagine space use in the library -- and this could really apply to any type of change any group is working towards or facing. Be sure to check out her helpful list of resources at the end of her article!

Current Awareness Reading for Library Teams

Is your department facing changes in the year ahead? Would you like to give everyone in your unit a shared vocabulary as you move forward? Current awareness reading is a valuable technique that can help groups adapt to change and form a united perspective.

The Setting:
I work at the Guin Library, a small branch of the Oregon State University Libraries, located over 50 miles away from our main campus and main library. We have 2.75 FTE, including a librarian and two library technicians. Although we travel to our main campus several times a year, and we are able to attend library meetings by polycom, we are to some extent cut off from the rich learning environment of our main library.

The Issues:
The OSU Libraries are in the process of building a culture of assessment, in which we examine and attempt to quantify our efforts. Our staff needs to learn current thinking about assessment. We also need to develop assessment projects of our own to contribute to the Libraries’ efforts.

In addition, we are in the process of redesigning our library. The marine science center where we are based is short on space, and we have an abundance of space in the library. We want to re-envision space to the best advantage for library users. As part of this effort, we are studying how patrons use the library.

Our Process:
The Guin Library Team meets once a week. Each month, we agree on an article to read. Any team member can suggest reading material. We read one article each month. We use many sources to find articles, such as LITA recommended reading resources, discussion lists, or American Libraries Online. To help us think about the articles, our librarian gave us this template to use:

  1. Citation for article read
  2. Intended audience
  3. Methodology used
  4. Premise of article
  5. Findings
  6. Applications for this material / What can be shared?
  7. Other staff comments

    Our current awareness reading program has worked well for us. We’ve learned much more about assessment, and one of the articles (Hoivik) gave us the method we used for a recent study of space use. We’ve enhanced our understanding of how technology is changing library use. Better still, we have an incentive to be on the lookout for good articles for the group to read, an incentive to be active learners. Whether you are trying to help someone stubbornly resisting change, or to inspire and re-invigorate your staff, a current awareness reading program might be just the thing for your group.

    For those who might be interested, here are some of the articles we have read:

    Anderson, Rick. (2011.) Guest editorial: the crisis in research librarianship. Journal of Academic Librarianship. 37:4, 289-290.

    Chudnov, Daniel. (2006.) Because this is the business we’ve chosen. One Big Library.

    Crawford, Susan P. (2011.) The new digital divide. New York Times. 3 Dec. 2011.

    Head, Alison J. and Michael B. Eisenberg. (2009.) How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age. Project Information Literacy Progress Report.

    Hoivik, Tord. (2008.) Count the traffic. World Library and Information Congress: 74th IFLA General Conference and Council / 10-14 August 2008, Quebec, Canada.

    Horowitz, Lisa R. (2009.) Assessing library services: a practical guide for the nonexpert. Library Leadership & Management. 23:4, 193-203.

    Lee-Thomas, Gwen and John Robson. (2004.) The questions of academic library assessment. Indiana Libraries. 23:1, 6-10.

    Munro, Karen. (2011.) Resilience vs. sustainability: the future of libraries. In the Library With a Lead Pipe [blog]. Posted Aug. 24, 2011.

    OCLC. (2011.) Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community. A Long View – in Internet Time.

    OCLC. (2011.) Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community. Information Consumer Technologies 2010.

    OCLC. (2011.) Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community. How Americans Use Online Sources and Their Libraries.

    OCLC. (2011.) Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community. A Long View – Looking Forward.

    Schoenfeld, Roger C. and Ross Housewright. (2009.) Ithaka S+R. Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies.

    Walters, William H. (2009.) Google Scholar search performance: comparative recall and precision. portal: Libraries and the Academy. 9:1, 5-24.

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