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C. G. O’Kelly Library’s OK Scholar’s Institute
Mae Rodney, Winston Salem State University
C. G. O’Kelly Library has a rich collection of print and electronic resources but traditional library output measures – questions asked, use of databases – declined despite an increase in instruction sessions offered.
The Internet gave patrons immediate fulfillment of their search requests; cutting and pasting information was effortless; so the Internet became students’ primary research tool. Informal assessments of students’ written papers confirmed the habit of cutting and pasting and not citing sources. Faculty members complained more about the quality of students’ final papers. To counter students’ reliance on the Internet, many faculty members’ assignments directed students not to use any Internet resources. This did not correct the problem! Faculty members remained unhappy with the quality of students’ papers.
Librarians wanted to teach students information literacy skills to help them locate, evaluate and use information. To achieve that goal, faculty members required more information about library services and collections along with techniques to develop quality library assignments.
A request was made for Title III funds to sponsor annual workshops for five years to help faculty members develop techniques to create assignments that require students to locate, use and evaluate library resources to complete their written assignments.
The O’K Fellows experience is positively impacting library services – the contact between students and librarians has increased by over 100 percent and the number of electronic searches completed rose by 300 percent during 2007-08. Instruction sessions offered in Fall 2008 already equal the total number for the entire 2006-07 academic year. Faculty members are recommending the institute to other faculty members.
Mae Rodney is the Director of Library Services in the C. G. O’Kelly Library at Winston Salem State University