Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yes, Librarians are Teachers

Albert Bryson, Guest Blogger

I feel that many teaching faculty do not really understand why librarians at academic institutions are part of the faculty. Our roles are different because we are an academic support service at colleges. We supplement what the teaching faculty do in the classroom.

For years the libraries have provided for the teaching faculty a course reserve area with books and articles that supplement the textbooks student purchase for their courses. We are where the students come to work on their research papers and projects.

Since I came to Lincoln in 1987 the library has progressed from physical card catalog to online public access catalog (OPAC) which lists all the items, primarily books that the library owns which are available for our patrons. I am the Catalog Librarian who decides where the book is located in our library using Library of Congress classification and subject headings. I am the one who knows where everything actually is on the shelf.

We have progressed as well from periodicals in bound volumes and on microfilm to where you obtain full text articles from peer reviewed journals online through the many databases which the library now subscribes to online, using the various computers in the library. We still get many of periodicals and journals in print as well, but we do not need to keep some of them in physical storage due the online databases.

Librarians do the majority of our teaching individually using a technique called the reference interview, where we assist students, staff and faculty in finding materials on the topics they are interested in searching. The amount of time we devote to this could be from just a few minutes to as long as an hour, depending what topic needed to be researched.

On request we do what we call bibliographical instruction in the classroom at the request of the teaching faculty where in one class session we provide a quick introduction to what we have available in the library to the students to assist them as they do their various class assignments. We provide handouts on the library services we offer, and we demonstrate how to use the OPAC and several of the online full text databases we have available on the topic associated with the actual class provide to us by the faculty member.

So remember if you need assistance with your research and you need assistance to get going, please feel free to contact one of the faculty librarians. We are available when the library is open to assist you.

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