1 August 2014

Thinking about library inductions (Pt.1)

Here's the thing. We have at best about 45 minutes. That's 45 minutes to justify our existence with the people who matter the most. To persuade them that we're worth our wages (subsidised from their fees) for the value we can bring to their studies. To persuade them that it's in their interests to engage with us, to come back and talk to us. We need to get them interested in visiting our building and using its contents. The building may be at the centre of campus but our online spaces are completely off their information map, unless we can get them to remember to look for them. This assumes our online resources justify being looked for, can be easily found and easily used. They cost a whole lot more than our wages.

We don't have a lot to work with: a computer and a projector at the front of a big room, often full of computers they can hide behind or surf on. Then there are clickers they can vote with, voices they may or may not choose to use, phones and tablets they may prefer to focus on, friends both inside and outside the room who may distract them. If we're REALLY lucky we may have the real life* or virtual support of a tutor, telling them they need to listen to us. We have our enthusiasm, friendliness and knowledge. They may bring apathy, interest, confusion, enthusiasm, language barriers, disabilities both seen and unseen, immense talent, enormous real life problems we know nothing about...or indeed all of these in just one student. 

So that's the challenge. What the hell are we going to do about it?  

* This only happened to me once. It was the most enjoyable session I've ever taught.

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