Library anxiety has been around in the literature for a while. I know I have experienced it as an undergrad. Even when I had the confidence, once you know that there is so much to learn about the use and information in a library, it is hard to know if you are doing the right thing. I was more anxious about doing the steps and right things in the information seeking process. I think mine was better than most because I thought of it as a process. No one ever told me it was a process or what the steps were. I wonder if being told that and learning what the basic steps are will help students? I also know that there are many studies in the literature that have many different processes. Is there a specific one that can be recommended? What is the one used in the field? Is there a specific one?
Time is the interesting point in the article. The study shows that the students who completed the consultation part of the assignment thought the librarians saved them time, and for that reason, they would go to a librarian again. However, those student whom did not do the consultation said they did not have time or thought a consultation took too much time. How would you market the librarians as time savers in a way that would get the students to go to the reference desk? Using a consultation as part of an assignment is a great idea, but not everyone did that part of the assignment. How do you get students that overestimate their abilities and/or have library anxiety to go to the reference desk? I know in other studies and literature I have read that improving and giving great reference services bring people back. But how do you get those people that do not think they need it? I think time is key, since students will go to the desk if it saves them time. I have experienced that personally. Students, in the literature, use online sources because it saves them time. I almost think the only way is for the students to experience it first hand, at the desk.
Oakleaf and VanScoy's article on "Instructional Strategies for Digital Reference" have great ideas that can be use in all forms of library instruction. Here are the strategies:
- Catch them being good: compliment and acknowledge good information seeking skills
- Think aloud: tell them your thought process, include good and bad so they know how to get through when they get stuck
- Show, don't tell: show them the process that you take, push urls and actively engage them
- Chunk it up: break into chunks, make them aware of future steps, and reenter if they need help to the next step
- Let users drive: have users show steps they have taken, initiate action for the user to preform
- Be the welcome wagon: enthusiasm, tell them that others also struggle, recognize user expertise
- Make introductions: tell them about other librarians, tell them about other reference venues
- Share secret knowledge: define terms, "tricks of the trade," describe what librarians do
I have used all of these strategies as needed in chat reference. I try and use most of them at the reference desk in face-to-face interactions as well. I think these would be great for instruction at Berea. The strategies have an application feel to them, which is where Julia wants to go. I will keep them in mind for when we are doing the assessment. Maybe adding something like it or that goes back to one of these strategies will help us in deciding what to use to make the quiz, tutorial, and other learning objects.