Are Librarians Really Teachers? Reflections and Analysis
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  • - target 15 different classes: first, third and 4th years - 2 graduate classes
  • - common sense fo the term - systematic - teacher - especially in a school
  • -  service or teaching oriented (examine accountabilities)?  -questionnaire and interview, random sample , 362 respondents, 20 interviews - 31.6% exchange with librarians as a learning experience  - our study asks what does teaching mean (open ended)
  • surveyed 48 undergraduate students explored reasons why librarians choose the profession, educational qualifications, etc   9 of 45 respondents referred to a teaching or training function of librarians like Hernan and pastine, explored many issues we focus on one!
  • - to contribute to the literature on student perceptions of librarians and libraries - hernon and fagan - what do students think of us??? - what does it mean to teach? librarian job postings state that we must teach, need some instruction experience, we are evaluated e.g. faculty status and tenure  - reflecting in light of decades of discussion about the teaching role of librarians and now librarians teaching info lit
  • YES! 1. help - helpful with, succeed 2. knowledgeable 3. subject - how to, library, research 4. educational institution 5. comparison with teachers and similar to or more than NO! 1. just/only.... shelve books, deal with books, book keepers 2. lack of qualifications - phd (but profs don't) 3. classroom, formalized education - grade, longer term 4. do not teach a subject - generalists
  • - race, ethnicity, gender, age, academic discipline, library use - librarian v. student, we were recognizable - administered after class as too biased ? maybe at ref desk, but less response - not representative , administered during the day, not evening - gave a quick incentive , not sincere response - but always a risk - electronic survey vs. paper survey and being more honest and legibility - not a survey. Surveys are tested for validity . Our study was exploratory.

Are Librarians Really Teachers? Reflections and Analysis Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Are Librarians Really Teachers? Reflections and Analysis Karen Okamoto City University of New York John Jay College [email_address]    Mark Aaron Polger City University of New York College of Staten Island [email_address]  
  • 2.  
      • 23 institutions across New York City
    •  
      • approximately 245, 000 students
    •  
      • founded in 1847
    •  
      • largest urban public university in the United States 
    •  
      • includes senior colleges and community colleges in all 5 boroughs in many disciplines:
        • law
        • medicine
        • education
        • social sciences and humanities
        • pure and applied sciences
        • health sciences  
    •  
    •  
  • 3.
      • Senior college specializing in nursing, education, and business
    •  
      • 13,000 students on 204 acre campus
    •  
      • 235,000 books / 5,000 e-books
    •  
      • 800 print journals
    •  
      • 26,000 electronic journals
    •  
      • Over 140 databases
    •  
      • 15 full time library faculty/ 10 part time library faculty
  • 4. John Jay College
      • senior college
      • 14, 000 students
      • criminal justice focus
      • 14 full-time librarians, 9 part-time librarians
      • more than 300,000 books, periodicals, and microforms
      • over 100 databases
      • over 36,000 electronic journals 
  • 5. Definition of teaching
    • Teach: show, present, direct, guide, "show by way of information or instruction" (common), enable, instruct, "give systematic information"
    • Teacher: teaches, instructs, an instructor, tutor,shows or points out, "function is to give instruction, esp. in a school"
    • Oxford English Dictionary , The Oxford American Dictionary of Current English
  • 6. Our definition of teaching
    • Our most broad and inclusive definition:
    •  
    • Anyone who uses various methods and strategies to share knowledge with another person.
    •  
  • 7. Literature review
    • Hernon, P. & Pastine, M. (1977). Student perceptions of academic librarians. College and research libraries , 38 , 129-139.
    •  
      •   service or teaching oriented (examine accountabilities)?
      •   362 respondents, 20 interviews
      • 31.6% - learning experience
      •   future studies should explore student definitions of teaching
    •  
    •  
  • 8. Literature review
    • Fagan, J. (2003). Students' perceptions of academic librarians. The reference librarian, 37 (78), 131-148.
    •  
      • surveyed 48 undergraduate students
      • explored reasons why librarians choose the profession, educational qualifications, etc
    •  
  • 9. Literature Review
    • Wilson, P (1979). Librarians as Teachers: The Study of an Organization Fiction. The Library Quarterly , 49(2), 146-162   
      • Wilson argues that librarians' professional identity represents an organization fiction. 
    •  
      • Librarians identify as "teachers" to help explain their job functions and to foster a more comforting self-image.
    •  
      • So much diversity in librarianship, it's difficult to describe our profession to the public.
    •  
      • Wilson argues that many academic librarians are obsessed with faculty status, thus they identify as teachers
    •  
      • Wilson claims librarians do not teach. They "inform" and "react" , but they do not have subject expertise
    •  
    •  
    •  
  • 10. Literature Review
    • Budd, J (1982). Librarians are Teachers . Library Journal , 107(18), 1944-1946
    •  
      • Budd argues that librarians teach at the reference desk
    •  
      • Library profession is built on the provision of disseminating knowledge back to the user
    •  
      • Librarians teach during the reference interview at the reference desk
    •  
      • Budd argues that librarians have subject expertise and jargon
    •  
      • Librarians need to learn how to communicate knowledge to the user like classroom teachers
  • 11. Description of our study
      • Distributed a questionnaire to both JJ and CSI Students.
    •  
      • Distributed in library classrooms, in the cafteria, campus centre, and library cafe
    •  
      • Comprised of 6 questions
    •  
      • Used convenience and snowball sampling
    •  
      • Garnered 500 responses.
    •  
      •   Incentive was chocolate and free pens and pencils
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    •  
    •  
    •  
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  • 12. Questionnaire
    • Questions included:
    •  
      • Age of consent (18) ?
      • Year of study ?
      • Campus location ? 
      • Are librarians "teachers"?
      • If "not", then what other words describe us?
      • Have they ever visited the library in person or via web site?
  • 13. Why this study?
      • To reflect on our own teaching and its effects on students
    •  
      • To further contribute to the literature of librarians' professional identity
    •  
      • To further explore students' perception of our teaching role 
    •  
      • To reflect what it means to be a teacher
  • 14. Findings: Are Librarians Teachers? both JJ and CSI, entire sample
  • 15. Findings: Are Librarians Teachers? Classroom Data, both JJ and CSI
  • 16. Findings: Data Outside The Classroom
  • 17. Findings: Level of Study (both colleges)
  • 18. Librarian Descriptors
  • 19. Themes That Emerged From the Question: "Are Librarians Teachers?"
    • Yes
    • 1. helpful
    • 2. knowledgeable
    • 3. subject expertise
    • 4. educational role
    • 5. librarians and teachers are equated
    • No
    • 1. just librarians, nothing else...
    • 2. they have a lack of qualifications
    • 3. not in a classroom
    • 4. do not teach a subject
    • 5. not helpful
  • 20. Moving forward...
    •  
      • Student perceptions are based on stereotypes
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      • Further need to market the library and librarian roles
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      • Providing more library instruction may change student perceptions
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      • Further investigate other factors such as age, race, gender, academic discipline, and ethnicity.
  • 21. Limitations
      • not enough demographic info, academic discipline, library use
      • librarians administered questionnaire
      • administered after each class
      • not a representative sample
      • incentive (i.e. chocolate and pens)
      • electronic  vs. paper survey
      • not a survey
  • 22. Reflections, comments and questions
      • review handouts with select comments
      • reflections on our identity as teachers
      • questions?
  • 23. Select student comments
    • Yes
    • "...librarians not only have to be knowledgeable about subjects, but have to be able to explain and show students how to search and understand library material."
    • "... the librarian is a teacher of method and basis... we learn how to access important information.."
    •  
    • "....what makes someone a teacher anyway?"
    • No
    • "I don't think they know a particular subject well [...] but they can help or guide you in the right direction..."
    • "I see them as someone to help me find books."
  • 24.
    • Questions/ Comments?