Research Library: A Day in the Life

I’m Emily Hamstra, Learning Librarian and Kinesiology Librarian at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, University of Michigan Library. I support undergraduate students and the School of Kinesiology by building great collections and teaching how to use the collections for research. No day in any library is ever typical, but this is what I did at the library on Friday, April 19th.

9-10am: I’m at the Library Public Services Meeting. This meeting is a giant meetup of U-M librarians who work the reference desks, circulation desks, and our technology centers. Staff often present projects they are working on or we discuss issues related to library public services. This month we had presentations from another unit on campus discussing how they support faculty technology needs related to research. The second presentation was from librarians from the Ann Arbor District Library about collections and services available for students at the public library. Of course, we all had lots of questions. Librarians love questions.

10-10:15: I’m on the RUSA Reading List Committee this year. My first shipment of books arrived today! I’m reading like a mad woman this year for the committee. It’s been great to read outside of my usual genres. I’m reading some really great books.

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Oh, Wonderopolis! (or how I use a site intended for children to make college students better searchers)

by Carrie Dunham-LaGree

I’ve written here about how much search fascinates me and my personal devotion to A Google a Day. As an academic instruction librarian, I’ve had some success incorporating these quizzes into instruction, but often the savvy students stumble upon an online forum with the exact answer without going through the steps. Lately, I’ve turned to Wonderopolis to inspire search topics for instruction sessions. Wonderopolis bills itself as “a place where wonder and learning are nurtured through the power of discovery, creativity and imagination.” The target audience for Wonderopolis isn’t college students, but I’ve had good luck incorporating the site into library instruction session. How?

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Welcome to the Library, Freshmen!

by Amanda Peters and Emily Hamstra

For the last 20 years the University of Michigan Library has worked with the Office of New Student Programs to host presentations during Freshmen Orientation. Every Monday through Thursday, early June to early August, roughly 130 students (over 6,000 students per summer) come to the library for presentations about the library, campus computing, and student involvement and study abroad opportunities.

Last year, we updated the library presentation to make the presentation more interactive and visual. We used Comic Life to create a choose-your-own-adventure-type narrative using Prezi and i>clicker. The i>clickers are easy to use, and help to bring energy to the presentation. Using the i>clickers, students choose different options for a student character, Peggah, throughout the presentation. This allows us to gauge the interests of the students. The presentation follows Peggah through a day at the library as she researches for a project. We focus on library study spaces, services for research and technology help, and collections of particular interest to undergrads. Over time we’ve realized that this type of presentation is more useful to students at orientation than a detailed hands-on session with library resources. Students come to orientation with a lot on their minds, and our main goal with this presentation is to let students know that the library is open and available to them. Continue reading

Insta.zibit*

by Amy Barlow

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*Insta.zibit /ˈin(t)-stə ˈzi-bət/ n. An exhibit created in under 30 minutes using Instagram. [Latin instans – urgent, end of the semester, pressure, get it done].

What you need to make an Insta.zibit:

  1. Physical or virtual real estate, on which you may mount an exhibit of images and books.
  2. iOS device or Android and the Instagram app.
  3. Students willing to have their images plastered all over the library and online (easy!).
  4. Publicity release forms, at the ready, to authorize the use of the images. I always keep a stack of blank forms in a folder near my desk.
  5. 30 minutes.

Why Use Reference Books?

by Emily Hamstra

When I was in high school, one of my favorite books was M. C. Strong’s The Great Rock Discography. From The Great Rock Discography I learned how different bands were connected, which albums to listen to, and which albums and bands to skip. It was the age of dial-up internet, and I built a record collection using a reference book and my parents’ expert knowledge.

In instruction sessions I often teach undergraduate students about reference books. When I ask undergraduates what they think of when they hear the word “encyclopedia” they often say, “Wikipedia and World Book.” This gives me an opportunity to tell them about the fabulous world of subject encyclopedias. I explain not all encyclopedias provide us with general information like World Book does. So often in first-year classes students are just getting a grasp of a particular concept or topic for the first time. They don’t always need to use an article database to find the latest article on metaphysics. Sometimes what they really need is an encyclopedia article from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy on metaphysics explaining the main concepts, arguments, major scholars, books, and articles in the field. Just like I needed those foundational albums to start my record collection, students often need a subject encyclopedia to find the foundational elements of the topic they’re researching.

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Recommended Reading for College-Bound and College Students

by Amelia Mowry and Emily Hamstra

Since the late 1960s, the University of Michigan Undergraduate Library has been publishing a list of recommended reading in a variety of disciplines. The list, entitled Read Read Read, was sent to admitted students to provide them with good books that would broaden their horizons and introduce them to college-level reading. We no longer send the list to incoming students, but we do provide a copy on our website.

This year Amelia Mowry, University Library Associate and School of Information student, updated the list to appeal to college-bound students and current undergraduate students. Amelia updated many of the titles on the list, and changed the format of the list from print to digital. The updated version of the list is a libguide. Creating the list as a libguide allowed us to easily make Read Read Read more visually appealing than the print version, and allowed us to link the titles to Worldcat so the books can be found in local libraries.
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Undergraduate Library: A Day in the Life

I’m Emily Hamstra, Learning Librarian at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library. I support student learning and engagement through developing meaningful instruction sessions and collections. No day at the library is ever the same for me, so here is a snapshot of one day at the Undergraduate Library.

9-10:30am

The Librarians’ Forum meets monthly to discuss issues the latest issues facing University of Michigan librarians. Sometimes these meetings are focused on campus issues, sometimes they are focused on issues that affect the library profession as a whole. This month the meeting was about different publishing initiatives in the library and on campus. Representatives from Deep Blue (University of Michigan’s institutional repository), MPublishing (University of Michigan’s publishing department, a department of the library), Open.Michigan (open access educational resources created at the University of Michigan), and HathiTrust spoke about how they support the University of Michigan campus and scholarly publishing. There was a lively discussion and donuts.

10:30-noon

Once I’ve cleared out some email, I get started on an order for the Undergraduate Library’s leisure reading collection. I maintain a large leisure reading collection. All books from this collection are purchased through a local independent bookseller.

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