The Library as an Instructional Institution

(or “How to Satisfy Comp K”)

This week I was able to conduct my instructional segment on peer-reviewed journals vs. magazines. The student workshop was conducted at one of the University College campuses, apparently in the far reaches of Maine. Only three students plus their instructor were able to show up; however, I think those that attended we able to learn a lot about some of the services offered by OCLS.

I have had little experience with instruction, so this was a great experience for me. [This week at Internet Librarian I will be attending one of the dine arounds where the subject matter is “Learning, Training & Instruction”]. Prior to my segment, the students participated in a bucket exercise in which three different buckets were used to represent a variety of search methods (Google, URSUS, and Academic Search Complete) and the typical results one might find from these searches. Because of the small group size, each of the students were given a bucket, and then asked to report on what they found.

It was helpful to be able to address each student and speak a little bit about why certain things are found via each of these searches. Finally, I was able to address how peer-reviewed journals differ from magazines. I chose this as the segment to do because during my undergrad work, no one had ever introduced this idea to me. I had no clue how helpful it would be to my research and towards building my researching skills, so I wanted to share. While I was a bit nervous going in, I am actually excited for the opportunity to be able to provide library instruction in the future.

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Finally… a following

Sometimes, in order to be successful, you have to fail. I think it’s been said many times before, and in probably more eloquent ways; however, that’s the gist of it.

The first half of this semester and this internship has been filled mostly with ups, with a few downs here and there. However, one thing has haunted me to this point: the inability to gain new followers for the OCLS social media pages. This, after all, is my job. The number 32 would taunt me every time I logged into our Facebook page. Every time since I liked the page and became number follower number 32. Through a variety of posts, promotions, etc. I was still unable to gain a following.

Then I had an idea. Early on, I had started following key players in the library field. I think I have mentioned this before. Librarians, publishers, scholars, etc. I have been able to use some of this material in reposts just to build meaningful content. However, it did not produce followers (just more likes from those already following us). Then, in our meeting a couple weeks ago, I confessed to Shiva, my site supervisor, that perhaps I was not so in touch with the OCLS audience because of the wide geographical distance. We decided it would be beneficial for her to select some more organizations and people that she was aware of operating in the vicinity. Once that happened, I began reading their posts, liking articles, showing the OCLS presence. Lo and behold, a few of these people started following us as well, then a few more, and a few more. We have now increased our following over 50%. Hopefully there are more to come.

A Job…

This week I will have to write a little less the work I am doing for my internship, and a bit about some of the skills I have learned during my time in the MLIS program, and in this short while as an intern.

Sometimes life throws you these weird little hints that someone is looking out for you. I returned from a stressful trip to Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, just in time to catch a presentation by my friend and SJSU alumna Elizabeth Borghi at the Library 2.014 online conference. Her presentation was titled LIS Skills Outside the Library which focused on how to market library skills in other career paths. I found her presentation touched on some things that I have experienced in my internship, mainly that as a library professional, we can expect to have to wear many different hats. Because our skill set translates well to other fields (“everyone needs a librarian”) we should remain open to all the opportunities that present themselves.

The following afternoon I had a job interview. This job I had originally applied for about six months ago; however the company was in such a need to hire extra help that they did not even have time or manpower to sit down and interview me at the time. Now a wholesale flower nursery does not seem like a place where library skills can be honed. Nor does the idea of being a salesman seem to be my dream job. Thinking about what I’ve learned, I decided to approach this with an open mind. What did I discover? This is a family owned nursery, doing things in a very old-fashioned way for decades. However, technology has finally forced their hand to upgrade their systems for ordering, billing, inventory, and customer interaction. I pitched myself as Social Media Intern. I focused my interview on the skills I could provide this company: the knowledge of how to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. to provide customers with up-to-date images of items in the inventory. The ability to connect with users via Skype so that the cross-country communication could seem more personal. Also the ability to use these skills to follow trends in the marketplace so that key decisions could be made at a faster pace to keep up with the industry.

I guess all of that worked. The company is currently taking advantage of down time to upgrade their computers and office space. In a couple weeks I will begin this new job, and hopefully be able to show the flower industry just what a librarian can do.

Some New Tasks

This week my internship supervisor and I had a brief, but productive meeting. After taking a week off from checking in due to my supervisor’s schedule, it was nice to check back in. I have been exploring ways to improve our Facebook posts, however, this week I have been given access to our Twitter analytics, so I am looking into how to improve that. My supervisor and I have decided to look into various key players (publishers, authors, other libraries, innovators, etc) in our field and make sure we are following them on these social networks so that we can repost their information.

Also ahead, I have the opportunity to make up for a presentation that did not happen due to a Skype technical issue. I am looking forward to being able to complete this task. We are also coming up on faculty training at the end of the month. The University College requires faculty who are teaching online to go through this fast track program. In it, faculty will learn a lot about how to use the technology, as well as learn what the OCLS has to offer them. In the past there have been many questions regarding copyright laws in regards to online lessons. I am researching this some more (beyond what has already been provided) to hopefully create a more engaging learning program on the subject matter.

Also looking forward to Library 2.014 this week. I will hopefully be able to attend some of these presentations live; however there are a few relevant ones that I may have to listen to recordings of after the fact. I plan on reporting back to my supervisor regarding any information that may benefit our OCLS services (I believe the presentation about bridging library services between high school and college students will be worth while).