Check out “Lessons Learned: How College Students Find Information in the Digital Age” (PDF – 3MB), released on Tuesday 12/01/09 by Project Information Literacy. Karen Schneider says “If you can make time for reading just one professional report over the holidays, please make it [this one].”
With that kind of endorsement from a trusted source like her, I’m sold. I briefly scanned the report and found it most interesting, looking at how many of our assumptions about student information needs and workflow are outdated. I also think that while this is geared at academic library situations, I think that the report applies equally to public & school libraries who serve students of any age (all of us). And the general conclusion that we need to think about the workflow of our users’ information needs is always good advice…and sadly something that we are often 5 years behind in tracking.
I also enjoyed Schneider’s analysis. From her post:
Librarians design too many services around a workflow where the student receives an assignment, perceives an information need, and comes to the library for assistance; as well as the just-in-case “first-year” instruction where students are bathed in instruction that is divorced from actual research tasks they need to conduct. But obviously, students aren’t following that workflow, and though they do seem to pick up that databases are valuable, frog-marching them into those inevitable biblio-classes isn’t growing the library luv for them–at least not luv as we envision it (which is part of the problem).
So the question is, why don’t we adapt our practices so that we are working with the “proxies” for library services — the faculty themselves, who create the assignments, interact first and most with students, and are the referrals for the tools we offer?