Monthly Archives: April 2012

Reflection on reading week 13: Long-term Learning Activities for Librarians

All good things must come to an end and it is my final blog post for SI 643 class.
Thinking back on a whole SI643 class, I think I can sum it up as two major issues: Information literacy and effective learning. At first, it was kind of a puzzle to me why we needed to think about effective learning of students as well as patrons because I thought that the main task of a  librarian is to provide precise information that patrons want in efficient ways. I, however, learned from this class that a library is not only a place to find reading materials or to provide information based on a patron’s query but also a place to provide life-long education to our patrons to improve their information literacy. In this view, librarians need to keep updating their knowledge about new technologies and also effective teaching methods. Yet, learning new technology and improving teaching methods are not easy tasks at all. Fortunately, some libraries provide long-term technology workshop sessions for librarians so they can learn new technology and teaching methods. This week’s readings, Semadini (2008), Blowers and Reed (2007), and Fontichiaro (2008), all provide many good strategies to follow when we conduct these long-term sessions for librarians. For instance,

  • Before preparing a series of workshop for librarians, try to assess in advance what they know and what they don’t know.
  • If you have to teach relatively large group of audience, provide online tutorials to them so they can practice by themselves.
  • Some incentives (e.g. rewards for completion of tasks) will increase participants’ motivation to learn new technology.
  • Increase the skill level from easy to difficult, so they can easily follow the instruction.
  • Allow participants to respond anonymously, then you can learn what they really think about the tasks.
  • Encourage participants to work together.
  • Continuously encourage them to practice and play.
  • Instructors need to adjust the contents of presentation based on what participants need to know.

These strategies will be very helpful for those who want to develop a workshop for long-term informational program for librarians.

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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


Reflection on preparation of Webinar presentation & Reflection on class 12: Webinar

The assignment was to make a webinar that was helpful for a underrepresented group in library service. I particularly like this assignment because we mostly dealt with how we could provide better library service for a ‘majority’ of patrons but often forgot about how we could improve the service for a ‘underrepresented’ group of patrons. In our group, Mary, Karen, and I chose to talk about how to provide equal library access to the blind/visually impaired. Traditionally, the blind and the visually impaired achieve information by reading braille books, but in digital age, they likely become one of groups that run into the trouble of information poverty. People find and get more and more information from digitized artifacts and Internet searching, but the blind/visually impaired are having a hard time coping with changing learning environments and most libraries don’t seem ready to serve them. We think there are many services libraries can develop and offer to them other than providing reading materials since libraries these days become a social hub for a variety of social activities of the community.

So we focused on three types of services; (1) information about physical and traditional reading service, (2) new technologies for accessing information, and (3) potential workshops and outreach services related to employment readiness program. We did some research and learned that various technologies have been developed for the visually impaired that can help them access information. Yet we found out that book clubs or employment readiness program for the blind/visually impaired were rare in libraries. We therefore decided to provide practical information on how a library can develop those activities.

Personally, the biggest challenge in webinar presentation is technological. In a face-to-face workshop, an instructor can observe the audience’s face expression and body language and then can make changes necessary based on audience response. In a Webinar, it is still possible that a presenter communicates with the audience by using a chat box, but it is quite difficult for a presenter to respond to the audience’s questions and provide a lecture at the same time. So we planned to have a moderator who aggregates the audience’s questions and verbally deliver them to a presenter whenever it is necessary. But things didn’t go as planned. After we started our webinar, laptops of two of presenters’ became out of order (one had some audio problem and the other crashed), and so moderators could not deliver questions to the presenter. We also found out that Elluminate randomly changed a font size and locations of images in our PowerPoint slides. As a result, our slides might have been looked ugly to the audience.

Regardless of these problems, our team members did our best. Moderators responded to as many questions from the audience as they could via a chat. We let the audience know the technical problems we were experiencing, and made out efforts to have our presentation flow smoothly without any interruption. As a result, we could complete our presentation on time. One of things we learned from this experience is that a laptop computer is not a reliable tool for a webinar. Another is that we reserved a room in Shapiro Library because we thought it had a stable wireless internet connection. But it turned out that the wireless internet was not as stable as we hoped. Thus, a webinar presentation should be done by using a desktop computer with a stable Internet service.

Personally I participated in four other webinar sessions: ‘Library service for ESL patrons’, ‘How to protect your patrons and yourself from copyright infringement’, ‘Young professionals: The Missing Link’, and ‘When Learning is difficult: Better Serving College Students with Dyslexia, ADHD, and Autism’. I really enjoyed all these webinar sessions and had a chance to think about how librarians could provide more diverse services to our patrons in creative ways. In my experience, I had some difficulty in following both a lecture and a chat box at the same time, in particular when contents of presentation did not sync with what was going on on a chat box. Interactive communication between the audience and a presenter is an advantage in a webinar, but I still prefer listening to an instructor’s presentation and then asking questions on subjects.

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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


SI 643 Reflection on twitter posts & Reflection on class 11:Twitter

Last February I joined Twitter to see what this new social media was about. I wasn’t sure of what I would do with Twitter, but at least I knew it’s a good tool to access news. So I followed the New York Times official Twitter account. Reading a newspaper from Twitter is quite convenient because I can quickly see a headline of news on my timeline without visiting newspaper websites. When I find any interesting headline to read on my timeline and want to read a full text, I click a twitter post and it opens a webpage of the newspaper article. But I have long used Google Reader to organize my news sources and read news, and using it is as convenient as using Twitter, so I haven’t found a compelling reason to switch to Twitter in my news reading behaviors.

Late March I made my first tweets with ‘#SI643’ hashtag by posting some interesting articles from my favorite librarians’ blogs. The assignment was to follow 25 Twitter accounts. I first thought it would be very easy since I have been subscribing to way more than 25 blogs in my Google Reader. I assume that given the popularity of Twitter they all have their Twitter accounts. But it was not the case. Clearly the familiarity with one type of social media does not necessarily lead to the use of other social media. Especially among 20 librarian bloggers I follow, only 5 are using Twitter. So I used Twitter’s discovery search function to find 20 more librarians. When I typed in “librarian” in a search box, Twitter shows Twitter accounts of over 100 librarians and various libraries and publishers, so I chose and followed more than 20 librarians among them.

In class discussion, I learned that people prefer Twitter when they want to share information, while other social media (e.g. Facebook) are used more for communicating with people. Of course, many use Twitter to post what they eat, what they feel, and where they go, but, to me, it’s less interesting to know what others’ lifestyle seem like. There are still many Twitter users who focus more on finding and sharing information. I chose and followed such users. They provide me with updated news about information literacy or and interesting news related to other library services.

I was not a avid user of social networking service and did not actively use any service. But the class assignment of using Twitter is completed but I am still using it. I have occasionally tweeted and retweeted information I found interesting. I may keep using it since I think I find the benefit of Twitter as an information-sharing tool.

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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


SI 643 Reflection on class week 10: Embedded librarian and Webinar preparation

This week we talked in class about whether an embedded librarianship can serve clients effectively and also tested Elluminate by setting up a webinar on our own.

One of readings this week introduced a story of a music librarian who has an office in a music department and I was very impressed by the librarian’s service and performance when I was reading it. But we discussed some real cases of embedded librarians in class and it seems more likely that the case of the music librarian is more of an exception. For instance, the School of Information has its own outreach librarian but people seldom visit her. As for faculty members, Kristin pointed out the librarian’s office hours overlapped with a regular faculty meeting, which made it impossible for faculty to visit office hours. Also, a government information librarian at Clark Library where I works used to provide an embedded library service for Ford School of Public Policy, but the office hour service wasn’t very effective. So the librarian eventually gave it up and instead is regularly sending emails about updated news and services to faculty in Ford School. Recently I had a chance to talk with a faculty member at Ford School regarding library service. She told me that she was just happy with getting updated news sent from a librarian of Clark Library and also with a government information librarian visiting her graduate class to lecture on how to conduct library research. Thus, in my opinion, while an embedded librarianship works well in serving our clients’ special needs, setting up office hours in clients’ workplace may not be as client-friendly as we thought. So, in conclusion, in order to maximize patrons’ benefits from embedded librarian services, a library should research beforehand on a targeted department’s culture and work environment, and patrons’ information-seeking patterns.   

We also learned how to create an Elluminate account and use the service. Kristin’s step-by-step instruction was very informative and helpful. Elluminate seems to have many functions and complicated options, so it would have taken lots of time to learn how to use it on my own.


Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized