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Geoff Dubber - The Big Leap: Library Transition from Sixth Form into Higher Education


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From the SLA 2009 Weekend Course. Moving from the familiarity of the school library to using complex HE library resources and services can be a challenge especially when basic study and information literacy skills also need honing. Come along to consider and reflect on the issues.

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Geoff Dubber - The Big Leap: Library Transition from Sixth Form into Higher Education

  1. 1. The Big Leap Library Transition from Sixth Form into Higher Education Geoff Dubber Education, Libraries & Learning Chair of the SLA [email_address] © Geoff Dubber 2009
  2. 2. News and Views … Talk to each other about links that you &/or your school have with universities ( if possible that support Uni/HE library induction )
  3. 3. To succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy we must unlock the talents of all our people. In this country we waste too much talent . Warwick Uni 2008 John Denham MP. previously Secretary of State for The Dept. of Innovation, Universities & Skills (DIUS.) Starting with the wider context
  4. 4. of parents & grandparents want their children to go to university Well over of young people from all social classes aspire to go to university Dept of Innovation, Universities & Skills 2008 50% 92%
  5. 5. 50% of YP to go onto uni Government target : But… is the education system effective enough to get them there and keep them there ?
  6. 6. Improving prior attainment is the main driver for widening participation to higher education in the long term.. We need to address the attainment gap at every stage in the education system if we are to give every individual the opportunity to fulfil his or her full potential What role for the school library ?
  7. 7. In the Warwick Uni speech 2008 – John Denham also stated (We need to …..) Raise the aspirations for young people who don’t think university is for them Equip our young people – through both formal qualifications and through personal skills – to succeed at university Structural links with schools – The emerging consensus is that it is the consistency of the relationship between the university, the teachers, (librarians) & the students that really makes the difference
  8. 8. 2007 Gordon Brown said every secondary school should have a higher education partnership Universities are being urged to forge links with secondary schools In England (with the aim of widening the the social range of students in higher education. (John Denham. Oct 2007. BBC News) 20 unis sponsor Academies & 13 more have links with Trust ( SSAT?) schools LRC ?
  9. 9. Guardian newspaper 23 Sept 2008 Kevin Whitston Making connection – schools and unis must work Closely together if they are to really reach out The school/s relationship with higher educ would be part of the school’s improvement plan Cooperation on curriculum development Build on the teacher training links Provide support for learners through information, advice, guidance, student ambassadors & mentors
  10. 10. Finding out what’s going on: I’ve started some very simple research Considering 6 th form library induction Questionnaires to some students Contact with school librarians Contact with university librarians A uni learning adviser with a specialism in dyslexia to be followed by Some suggested strategies
  11. 11. Transition into the 6 th form Difficulties include ~ <ul><li>Settling into different work patterns </li></ul><ul><li>Control over their own timetables and time </li></ul><ul><li>Facing different levels of work </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom of choice with subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive study of fewer, often new subjects </li></ul>OFSTED 2003 the transition to uni is even more challenging ?
  12. 12. In the winter I devised a student questionnaire to cover (apart from the basics) 6 th form library/college library induction Post 16 use of school/college library Your use of library staff Opportunities to visit HE institutions with teachers & role of LRC staff Preliminary visits to uni libraries ~ Induction to uni libraries while still at school/college
  13. 13. The library at my school wasn’t particularly good in my opinion, particularly as it wasn’t a very welcoming atmosphere & was small and cramped.. I don’t think that I once borrowed a book.. We were never given any induction and as I was a new student to the school this wasn’t very encouraging ( student now at University of Sheffield) I don’t think that I received any sort of Higher Education induction while at college…it would have been nice to to have some more information & guidance at college through a focused visit to a local university library (student now at University of Gloucestershire) None ! Student now at Kings College London
  14. 14. I had contact with some school library staff I’ve had to do a lot of searching for books for her as she hasn’t got much clue about using the on-line library facility, resorting to using Amazon in some cases – she’s in for a tutorial or two when she comes home ! I have noticed that our boys struggle in making the jump to A” Level, so it must be far worse when they go into higher education…our Careers Coordinator does arrange visits to unis but I don’t think that he has ever considered the change in library provision.. I will have a chat with him !………
  15. 15. <ul><li>I contacted 14 universities by email. </li></ul><ul><li>I received serious replies from 6 of them…. </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t do anything proactively (haven’t the staff capacity) but try to be helpful if contacted by schools..we should do more (MMU) </li></ul>Warwick & UWE here I come ! <ul><li>Here at UEL we have in the past done a couple of sessions with 6 th formers on using the library.. I think the sessions were a success but we have not been asked for a couple of years </li></ul>
  16. 16. Let’s compare capacities See handout out W6thBL 1
  17. 17. Let’s compare use… <ul><li>Digital fluency.. More than simply Google </li></ul><ul><li>1995 : 7,000 on-line journals to use </li></ul><ul><li>2008 33,000 on-line journals to use. </li></ul><ul><li>Students desperately need skills training and </li></ul><ul><li>development. </li></ul>Less spoon feeding wanted! More independent learning
  18. 18. Glasgow Caledonian Uni Research undertaken by GCU – Information Literacy Skills – the links between secondary and tertiary education has shown that students arriving at uni have generally either poor or limited information literacy skills, for some these skills will be enhanced, but many will leave as they arrived.
  19. 19. I heard of a group of Freshers on their first assignment 12 out of 14 failed their first unit as they didn’t reference any of their work ! (UWE) Referencing, plagiarism & copyright are always big issues round here, also evaluating websites (UWE) UWE on-line tutorials
  20. 20. +The Learning Grid.. + Reinvention Centre Also a Teaching Grid Warwick Uni Library
  21. 21. UWE – 5 campuses 723,000 books, 16,000 journals, 700,000 loans 1.5 million visitors
  22. 22. The forthcoming i-Floor at Bournemouth Uni Business School The I-floor is a bold move away from your traditional library – all study materials books and journals are available electronically. It also has individual study areas, breakout zones & technopods ~ group study areas for students working together on projects, with networked computers & large LCD screens (BUBusSch website) Are our 6 th formers prepared ?
  23. 23. <ul><li>Anne Robinson on her blog back in April 09 </li></ul><ul><li>Many students ~ </li></ul><ul><li>Do not understand how to appraise resources </li></ul><ul><li>Have not gone beyond Google in search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Have never used a subscription database </li></ul><ul><li>Have never used journals </li></ul>Agree ? Disagree ? <ul><li>Have never read around their subject </li></ul><ul><li>Are shaky when it comes to writing essays </li></ul><ul><li>Have issues with plagiarism </li></ul><ul><li>Have issues around understanding what a library is – </li></ul><ul><li>a shared public space </li></ul><ul><li>They also have issues around security – belongings, </li></ul><ul><li>passwords,library cards etc. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Activity See handout W6th BL2 What do you in the LRC do to help ?
  25. 25. <ul><li>Perceptions from 3 students …………….. </li></ul><ul><li>The stacks were quite scary ! </li></ul><ul><li>I thought the library was huge ..(I) was trying to avoid it for as long as possible and felt daunted and intimidated by its size, but once I’d had a tour and been there for assignment purposes it began to feel familiar and by the end of the first semester I felt I’d been there forever.. </li></ul><ul><li>At first a little daunting as there were 40+ pcs and it’s no silent study so can get noisy </li></ul><ul><li>I </li></ul>
  26. 26. Library induction for Freshers – in the first few weeks of the new academic year Lots of people to induct Not much time for the process Lots of information –in one ear and out the other ! Not everyone goes or can go along Can only cover the basics Learn on the job rather than in an “induction” It’s the follow up sessions & use of on-line materials that are so important – if students have the confidence, time and attitude.
  27. 27. Special Needs, special people…….. <ul><li>A lot of dyslexics really struggle with library induction.. </li></ul><ul><li>some are not confident enough to use the library at all – they don’t understand the “coding system” – some books have up to 7 numbers and letters + 3 more in brackets </li></ul><ul><li>One student couldn’t use the rolling stack, another couldn’t use her swipe card.. Some place “hold” on every book they need as they don’t feel that they can search the shelves.. Some simply browse the shelves looking for something… </li></ul><ul><li>Those with good ICT skills avoid books – I’ve seen some reading lists made up entirely of –journal articles </li></ul><ul><li>The key with all dyslexics is to keep it short and simple </li></ul>
  28. 28. For students with English as a 2 nd language the problems are profound…many of our students come from abroad Also cultural differences cause challenges for some students with issues like plagiarism….(UWE) Worth a thought
  29. 29. Consider the drop out rate… (Can be as low as 3% or as high as 30%) Poorer students, disabled students & those with families.. Mentoring etc needed Clearly not all down to lack of Library familiarisation ! But we can help.. 22%
  30. 30. Developing school – uni links Find out what is going on already. Some 6th form subject depts have links, but never think to involve library staff ! Our Head of History is planning to take some of our Y12 students on a Coursework study Day run by Staff Uni, with a strong focus on Research in the Uni Library !! - I must say I got very excited & begged him to let me come with them ! Hurray ! We are able to access resources at Leeds Uni – with a signed letter from librarian or teacher
  31. 31. Took some 6th form to Derby University(very impressed) this morning for a tour of the library and information skills workshop! Brilliant! Very well organised and delivered. The students were overwhelmed by the size of the library and volume of resources available. Also had a good chat with the librarians there about some of the  study skills students ideally need.   Looking to arrange another visit next term. Marianne Checkland. King Ed.V11 Science & Sports College Coalville, Leics 15/6/09
  32. 32. Cooperative working…… an email from a sch librarian Following on from your earlier advice ~ On a very low level, as part of an extended essay in “ A” level philosophy, I (& teacher) take a group of students to Manchester Uni to undertake some research – we check the uni catalogue – they have to find 3 titles they think might be useful They have a talk, a demo & a tour… quite impressed This is the same librarian who had a disastrous visit from a librarian from a uni about 5 years ago !
  33. 33. I have recently approached Goldsmiths Re: taking some 6 th formers there – but while they are happy for a small group to visit it sounded as though they had had a bad experience with some school groups who really do not understanding the concept of silent study… Tomorrow our 6 th form library assistant & a group of our Y12s are off to the London Metropolitan Archive..sounds like a focus on study skills..
  34. 34. Possible strategies - Time permitting… You can’t do them all – there won’t be enough time unless you have very generous staffing levels ! Maybe put some of these into your Development Planning ?………..
  35. 35. Observe your 6 th formers - What skills do they need to develop ? Writing essays ? Note making techniques ? Citing sources ? Ideas about cut and paste /plagiarism ? Not just Google ? Using search terms ? Using Dewey ? Ideas about how to evaluate websites ? Time management strategies ?
  36. 36. Observe your 6 th formers - What knowledge do they need ? Reading around their subjects ? Access to other sources of info ? Familiarity with university libraries & other important specialised information centres ? Talk with your Head of 6 th form ~ partnership working may be the way forward
  37. 37.  Put together some self-help leaflets Point them in the direction of the on-line materials put together by many universities  mentoring on different aspects of this Run some clinics /do some small group  Put together a PowerPoint to use at an appropriate time – Perhaps as part of an induction process ? Susan Clarke Tormead School Guildford
  38. 38. Make contact with the library at your neighbouring uni/HE! Ask for a tour of the library yourself Get your local SLA branch/SLS to hold a meeting there to discuss links Take some photos of the uni library and display them & some statistics too Organise a research visit with a few students & a teacher linked to a subject Use an ex-sch student to do a Q & A session for you about learning methods at uni
  39. 39. UWE has a Bristol school librarian working with them on a volunteer basis so she can learn a little about the working of libraries in HEIs. Both Warwick & UWE were interested in joint approaches & job shadowing was mentioned at UWE.. If funding could be found joint pilot projects could be set up & developed…..
  40. 40. What’s the potential for you in your particular situation ?? Leicester Uni Library
  41. 41. Time management <ul><li>No one can do it all ! </li></ul><ul><li>(-be motivated, try something, be successful and move on !) </li></ul>
  42. 42. Good luck and keep up the good work – you’re doing a brilliant job ! A big thank you to everyone & do keep in touch Ah – I’m thinking about HEI links ! Thanks for their help to Anne Bell of Warwick Uni. Library Caroline Plaice at UWE (Glenside Campus)