Serving the DIY Patron: Library Instruction at the Point of Need
May 16, 2013Serving the DIY Patron: LibraryInstruction at the Point of NeedMeredith Farkas, Portland State University
What is DIY?Self-sufficiencyPersonalization/customizationFrugality/rejection of consumerismDeveloping skills for creation, reconnection with hands-on activitiesA rejection of the mediated/expert modelDoing things outside of traditional hierarchies/boundariesSatisfaction from building things yourself
The DIY generationRespect for locally-made, hand-madeDesire for more control, personalization (hacker ethos)Grassroots politics, leaderless movements (Occupy, Wikileaks)Growth in communities for the “expert amateur” to make thingsWhy be DIY? (Kuznetsov & Paulos, “Rise of the Expert Amateur: DIYProjects, Communities, and Cultures.” NordiCHI, 2010)“Express myself/be creative” (97%)“Learn new skills” (91%)“Solve problems/challenge myself” (88%)
Do people like this seek out helpfrom experts?
Help-seeking in libraries: a historyThenClosed stacksMediated searchingInformation scarcityNowOpen stacksSearch tools designed for the end-userSelf-checkout, patron-driven acquisitions, unmediated ILL, etc.
At the same time...http://www.flickr.com/photos/intersectionconsulting/7537238368/
Plus, most millennials thinkthey’re research...
Information = AbundantTime =ScarceAttention = scarce____________________Do the traditional models still workwhen information isn’t scarce?
Reference usage has declined“According to Association of Research Library (ARL)statistics, the number of reference transactionstaking place in ARL libraries has declined bymore than half since 1995. Control that statistic forenrollment and the decline is greater: in 1995, ARL librariesprovided an average of 10.1 reference transactions perstudent FTE; in 2009 the number was 3.6, a decline ofover 60%.”Anderson, Rick. (2011). “The Crisis in Research Librarianship” Journal ofAcademic Librarianship, 37(4).
Reference transactions in U.S.academic libraries Source: NCES
Reference transactions in publiclibraries Source: NCES
Reference transactions in CApublic libraries Source: NCES
Why would they ask us?College students overwhelmingly (83%) begin theirinformation searches using search engines, though at lowerrates than in 2005 (92%). As in 2005, no student surveyedstarted on the library Web site. College students feel thatsearch engines trump libraries for speed, convenience, reliability and easeof use. Libraries trump search engines for trustworthiness and accuracy.Substantially more students in 2010 (43%) indicatedthat information from library sources is moretrustworthy than from search engines (31% in 2005).Source: OCLC Perceptions of Libraries 2010 study
And yetSource: OCLC Perceptions of Libraries 2010 study
The DIY patronWants to figure it out themselvesIs accustomed to using Google and other web servicesIs accustomed to using quick help sites like WikiAnswers, Yahoo!Answers, etc.Wants things to be intuitiveLooks for pointers about how things work
Other reasons they might not askfor helpLibrary anxietyLow academic self-efficacy - asking for help means admitting theylack ability.Gender - girls “lose their voice” during adolescenceLack of understanding of the role of the librarian (marketingproblem?)
“We desperately need to invest serious thoughtand effort into ways that we will not only provideaccess to information, but also maintain theconnections between the wired user and theinformation expert to demonstrate that the addedvalue that we provide users in this information-saturated environment is far greater than themere convenience of ‘getting it all online.’”Brette Barclay Barron, “Distant and Distributed Learners Are Two Sides ofthe Same Coin,” Computers in Libraries 22 (Jan. 2002): 24–28.
The answer then for referenceinstructionDisintermediate whenever possibleDevelop instructional content that mimics answer services on theweb like Yahoo! Answers (small, specific bits of content)Make that content available and easily findable at their points ofneed 24/7For academic/K12 librarians: Embed instructional content into thefabric of classes
Discovering needsReference transactionsWeb statisticsUsability testingEthnographic research
Reference transactionsCollect questions asked at the deskReference statsVirtual reference transcriptsDon’t collect? Talk to colleagues who frequently work the referencedeskOr sample!
Web analyticsWhat pages do they visit the most?What databases do they visit the most?Where do patrons get frustrated and leave?Where do they spend a lot of time that doesn’t make sense?Time on siteBounce rate
Usability testingGiving patrons tasks and watch them use your website to completethemWatch students do authentic researchAlways surprising
Ethnographic researchObserving students using the libraryFocus groups and individual interviewsPhoto diary studiesResearch journalsResearch narratives
Library DIY @ Portland StateReference librarian in a boxSmall pieces of instructional contentBased on questions we get at the reference deskEach one answers just one questionIf in-depth help needed, link outInformation architecture gets students to just the info they’re lookingfor
Next stepsFinish content developmentUser testing over the summerPlacement and marketing to make it visible at students’ points ofneedOn the library websiteIn the libraryOn campus
And how findable is this?Links to tutorialsUnder research resources/start your researchUnder help/research helpUnder ServicesUnder Library Services --> InstructionWithin LibGuidesUnfindable from some library websites
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yogendra174/5980718184Get in their flow
Where might patrons lookfor/need help on your librarywebsite?Ask a Librarian pageAny help type of pagesResearch guidesDatabases page (and inside databases)CatalogWebpages for specific services (ILL, gov docs, etc.)
“The library needs to be in theuser environment and not expectthe user to find their way to thelibrary environment”-Lorcan Dempseyhttp://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/000688.html
Go where your users arein the Learning Management System (LMS)on an Intranetin any local social networks or relevant community websiteson Facebookon mobile devicesin computer labs (on the desktop)
Link patrons to library instructionalcontent where they need itIn the libraryIn the stacks, places people get lostBy collections patrons have trouble usingMachines patrons have issues withOther places people have information needsBuses, business support organizations, daycare centers,community centers, high schools, academic department offices,residence halls, computer labs, etc.
QR CodesShort for Quick ResponseOriginally developed forinventory controlNeed a QR code readerto readScan a QR code to accessinfo or take action
Hicks, A., & Sinkinson, C. (2011). SituatedQuestions and Answers. Reference & UserServices Quarterly, 51(1), 60–69.Placed posters with QR codes in the library in places where patronsencountered difficultiesFor the journals area: Poster says “How do I...find older issues of the journal?find the call number for the journal I need?find a scanner?find a copy machine?get more help?
QR Codes are a stopgapNear Field CommunicationsA way for devices to receiveinformation at close rangeRFID is an exampleUser no longer has to take theinitiative to scanIn the meantimeUse QR codes with shortened URLs(bit.ly, goo.gl, tinyURL, etc.)
Another way to reach DIYstudentsEmbed information literacy instruction seamlessly into the DNA ofclassesCreate learning objects, activities, and self-paced tutorials thatfaculty can easily integrate into their coursesEmbed library instruction meaningfully into classes (beyond theone-shot)Requires a tremendous amount of relationship-building withfaculty + time
Questions? Comments?Find me athttp://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpressmgfarkas (at) gmail.comtwitter: librarianmerfacebook: meredithfarkasSlides and links atmeredithfarkas.wetpaint.com
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