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Library DIY: Library Instruction at the Point of Need


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Presentation for the University of Oregon

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Library DIY: Library Instruction at the Point of Need

  1. 1. Library DIY: Library Instruction at the Point of Need Meredith Farkas, Portland State University
  2. 2. Two Revelations
  3. 3. Revelation #1
  4. 4. “What users seemed to want to know most was how to get the tasks for their research done fast, and they preferred to do so by themselves. They appreciated any tools that help them to achieve this if the tools were easy to use.  But they were not interested in being mediated by a librarian.”
  5. 5. “Librarians exist to serve as a mediator between users and resources... but the users consider our mediation as a speed bump rather than as value-added service. So where do research libraries and librarians go from here?”
  6. 6. Reference usage has declined “According to Association of Research Library (ARL) statistics, the number of reference transactions taking place in ARL libraries has declined by more than half since 1995. Control that statistic for enrollment and the decline is greater: in 1995, ARL libraries provided an average of 10.1 reference transactions per student FTE; in 2009 the number was 3.6, a decline of over 60%.” Anderson, Rick. (2011). “The Crisis in Research Librarianship” Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37(4).
  7. 7. Reference transactions in U.S. academic libraries Source: NCES
  8. 8. Reasons patrons might not ask for help Unapproachability of librarians Library anxiety Low academic self-efficacy - asking for help means admitting they lack ability. Lack of understanding of the role of the librarian They are “DIY patrons”
  9. 9. The DIY patron Wants to figure it out themselves Is accustomed to using Google and other web services Is accustomed to using quick help sites like WikiAnswers, Yahoo! Answers, etc. Wants things to be intuitive Looks for pointers about how things work
  10. 10. Learning objects INSTRUCTION REFERENCE Revelation #2
  11. 11. Learning objects INSTRUCTION REFERENCE
  13. 13. These are two different things
  14. 14. Do students come to the desk looking for this?
  15. 15. Or this?
  16. 16. So what about these? Great when assigned Not very helpful for point-of-need support
  17. 17. The answer for point-of-need instructional support Develop instructional content/systems that mimics answer services on the web like Yahoo! Answers (small, specific bits of content) Make that content available and easily findable at their points of need 24/7 Embed instructional content into the fabric of classes
  18. 18. Library DIY @ Portland State “Reference librarian in a box” Small pieces of instructional content Based on questions we get at the reference desk Each one answers just one question If in-depth help needed, link out Information architecture gets students to just the info they’re looking for, much like in a reference interview
  19. 19. The environment at Portland State, Spring 2012 New instructional design team led by Head of Instruction (me) Hired an instructional designer with funding from the Center for Online Learning Big push from liaisons for learning objects to support teaching, LibGuide development, and reference
  20. 20. Trouble in paradise…
  21. 21. Why Drupal? Comfort level System we use for our website Great for building database-driven CMS-type sites Content needs to be findable via multiple paths
  22. 22. Discovering needs Reference transactions Web statistics Usability testing Ethnographic research Observational studies Focus groups Interviews
  23. 23. Before launch Placement and marketing On the library website Under “Ask a Librarian”, “Research Tools & Collections”, “Help & Services”, “Services for Students” In LibGuides – created a box for liaisons to put on their guides In instruction sessions In reference transactions
  24. 24. Early results Google Analytics suggests promising, modest use (better than any of our existing instructional content) Library DIY amazing for virtual reference – just send a link! Definitely need to do better marketing
  25. 25. Unexpected benefits Content from Library DIY reused in LibGuides and in other tutorials Infrastructure useful for so many other purposes Reaction from profession = AMAZING! Lots of libraries working to implement open source code Two DIY clones: and
  26. 26. Next steps Usability testing (in the process this week) Updating all the things that change with Primo migration Developing better marketing communications for students/faculty Make sure Library DIY is prominently featured on new website Links to specific DIYs in contextually-relevant places Marketing Library DIY in the physical world
  27. 27. Caveat: Disintermediated instruction is just one piece of the puzzle
  28. 28. Questions? Comments? Find me at mgfarkas (at) twitter: librarianmer facebook: meredithfarkas
  29. 29. Making content findable at points of need
  30. 30. And how findable is this? Links to tutorials Under research resources/start your research Under help/research help Under Services Under Library Services --> Instruction Within LibGuides Unfindable from some library websites
  31. 31. Get in their flow
  32. 32. Where might patrons look for/need help on your library website? Ask a Librarian page Any help type of pages Research guides Databases page (and inside databases) Catalog Webpages for specific services (ILL, gov docs, etc.)
  33. 33. “The library needs to be in the user environment and not expect the user to find their way to the library environment”-Lorcan Dempsey
  34. 34. Go where your users are in the Learning Management System (LMS) on an Intranet in any local social networks or relevant community websites on Facebook on mobile devices in computer labs (on the desktop)
  35. 35. Questions? Comments? Find me at mgfarkas (at) twitter: librarianmer facebook: meredithfarkas