Adventures of An Aspiring Librarian

Health Science Library Internship–Week 7

on March 7, 2014

This week, I dove into the world of library instruction and teaching. One of my learning objectives was to learn more about this, since I know it is a very important aspect of librarianship (particularly in academic libraries). I am a bit afraid of public speaking (and as such, teaching large groups), so I wanted to see what it was all about. Librarians can teach about searching and software. Furthermore, they can improve students’ research skills, teach patrons how to navigate a computer, and even instruct on creating bibliographies.

I attended an instruction meeting this week in Davis Library in place of Fran. Mr. Jonathan McMichael, the Undergraduate Experience Librarian at the UNC-CH Undergraduate Library, headed the meeting. Ironically, he recently was a guest speaker in my INLS 501 class (Information and Resource Services), so I was excited to see him speak in a professional meeting/professional capacity. In my class, he spoke about his philosophy towards teaching, which is as follows:

Aptitude x Prior knowledge x Experience
______________________________             x Skills x Motivation
Skills necessary x experience

Summed up, it essentially speaks to a student’s current aptitude and prior knowledge, as well as the skills necessary needed to do the job. The equation of this equals what you can teach them. Most powerfully, he said if the students have no motivation, then the entire equation sums up to 0.

In the meeting in Davis, he spoke of a desire to start a discussion group consisting of the instruction librarians from each library. The key question was: What is the role of a library as an educator on campus? Furthermore, he added, how can we work together to address the instruction needs of students and patrons?

The librarians who attended had some wonderful ideas and insights, and I attempted to contribute here and there with what I knew about the Health Science Library population. The librarians wanted to examine the research cycle, and hoped that they would be able to teach more students at times when they needed it most. Most importantly, they agreed at the end of the meeting that they wanted to create “teachable moments” with their students; these moments are moments in which students are READY and willing to learn something.

This meeting was very informative, and I feel like I learned a lot about the different types of library instruction in the various libraries across the UNC-CH campus. I’m so glad that Fran sent me in her place for this meeting so that I could learn. I took copious notes and sent them her way soon after the meeting ended.



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