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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.
  • 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
      •  
      •  
      •  
      •  
      •  
    • 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
      •  
        • Further need to market the library and librarian roles
      •  
        • Providing more library instruction may change student perceptions
      •  
        • 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?