Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Academic Library Internship Reflections

This semester I will be completing my practicum requirement at Ouachita Baptist University's Riley-Hickingbotham Library. I am completing an ALA-accredited information science degree so I can work in an academic library much later in my professional life. Having been a graduate student several times over the past two decades, I've used academic libraries frequently.

I want to share a few of my experiences about this on the blog. I especially want to share tools and methods I learned about that could be used in school libraries. After spending the last four months at Ouachita Baptist University, I've learned so much about the organization and layout of an academic library. Each person in the library has a specific area for which they are responsible. In addition, they collaborate and assist each other when needed.

WorldCat and Interlibrary Loan

Some of the most interesting items I've learned about so far have been Interlibrary Loan procedures and the basics of how an archive works. I've always wondered how libraries go about exchanging materials between their institutions. I was reminded that OCLC has a great resource called WorldCat that reveals resources at nearby libraries to users. How many times have you had a student or teacher ask for a book you don't have in stock? Next time, you can help them use WorldCat to execute a search to see if a nearby library might have the item. I wonder how many of you might have Interlibrary Loan procedures at your school library? If so, please tell me how that works in the comments below.


Have you ever used a LibGuide? I was introduced to them this semester during practicum. I was able to assist the periodicals librarian in building a LibGuide for the theatre department. After using the tool to assemble links to databases, articles, books, citation tools, and more, I was convinced it is a worthwhile site. You can search the LibGuides Community to see plenty of examples from colleges, high schools, and elementary schools. Some libraries even use LibGuides to create their online presence like this one.

Personalized Search Strategies Template

One of the most useful things I learned as a school librarian was from the periodicals librarian. She showed me in detail how she gives reference interviews with college students. She prepares a personalized research resource for each student that schedules a time with her. The resource looks like the following:

Search Strategies for Honors Thesis Paper
Prepared for (enter student name here)
Librarian's name

  • Topic

               (enter name of topic)

  • Research Questions

               1. List 3-4 inquiry-based questions about the topic here.

  • Resources and Search Terms

                ProQuest (List a Database or other online search tool here)
                Search Terms > Give a Boolean search string here- or a simple list of search terms for                                                    younger students

I love this personalized method of assisting students with research! This could work at any level when time permitted. I'm going to consider using this template in my future research lessons with classes. While it won't always be feasible, I can surely work this in to assist some classes. If nothing else, I could create the template and share a digital copy with students that come in and need assistance on an individual basis. There are so many possibilities! Do you use something similar to this when you teach research? Please, share it in the comments below! 

There are more reflections to share about my practicum semester. I'll try to get in at least one more article before summer. I have learned so many things, it will be hard to narrow it down to just a few to talk about on the blog. When we are lifelong learners, we benefit as professionals, but, most importantly, those we serve benefit as a result of our continued growth!

Other links that may interest you:

Our Outsiders Library Collaboration
Our Book Pickup Service

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1 comment:

  1. I found this to be useful and very good for me personally. Well worth the time learning reading and using it in my class. Cumulative Case Study