2011 California Conference of Library Instruction notes

Are you feeling tired? Worn down by grading too many papers? More inspired by the end of Spring semester/quarter? Then, you feel just like me.  The cure: CCLI.  In one day, I’ve been not only inspired to better structure my outreach for effective acceptance by students, but also got to explore new online learning tools and consider hope for my academic librarian future.

The morning started out with cocktail umbrellas and Mad Men as Emily Missner asked us to reconsider what we think of as library resource advertising.  With her real world, ad agency experience, Emily began the morning with some basic concepts to reach our student population sweet spot (18-34 year olds). First, develop a unique personality that fits self images.  Second, evoke sn emotional response. Finally, create a stimulating experience.  As a model of how this works, the attendees brainstormed ideas of successful ads and marketing camaigns, such as Apple.  Often times, libraries advertise new resources like how vendors pitch to us – but do students really care about how many thousands of publication titles are in a database? NO.  So why do we keep telling them this?

Next, she shared her own approach of a listserv.  I know, I know, listservs are not Web 2.0 chic but, like Draper and the Kodak Carosel, she knows how to sell it to students, faculty, and alumni (about 2,000 to be exact).  Mood (like major holidays), nostaglia or pop culture, analogy, and anthropomorphism are her ingredients for success.  I would also state that her prudent use of once or twice a quarter in key weeks 3, 7, and/or 8 makes timing a sixth unnamed ingredient.

After a lovely lunch, Debbie Faires dove into the nuts and bolts of online education, methods, and a wide array of resources.  Now, first of all, online education in a purely-online-no-in-person-meeting-EVER has grown 21%.  Learning management system usage (the Moodle, Blackboards, etc of the world) is estimsted to be 1 in 3 students. Therefore, Debbie tooj a broad approach first identifying the various types of interaction between students and faculty, students and content, and student to student.  To minimize the isolation effect, all of these have to be in place.  Discussions across asynchronous, sychronous, and in between communication styles and tools encouraged good conversation from many of the other attendees.

As our final keynote speakers, Dr. Dale Jacobs and Dr. Heidi Jacobs reminded us not just what we do as being good enough, but also to “hope, a way to think things through as a group to make things better.” As the extended metaphor of this reflective librarianship, they referred back to the isolated island also being a complex ecosystem.  The rare species found in the Galapagos might be isolated from larger continents with better documentariand but it doesn’t mean that the vegetative life and animal life on the island don’t have to find a mutual cooperation for their shared survival.  With budgets and institutions needing to make use of what we have and better, librarians cannot just consider themselves as isolated entities in the sea of academia.  So, the Jacobs asked the hard questions and made us think about what we might start answering.  For example, what do you want from your info lit program? Who do you need to talk with? What do you need to do to make yourself avaliable to listening to other peoples’ responses? I have some notes of names and ideas but I’ll save my actions and findings for another post….    

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