Kelley Conrad and Holly Rick from University of Phoenix discussed their project to improve the research and information literacy skills of advance degree students in their presentation Advanced Library Skills Self-Study and Effectiveness for Online Doctoral Students. It was heartening (and alarming!) to know that they struggle with learning the same research strategies our community college online students do. Interesting to hear how much they are able to tackle in a single in-person session with these students.

My Notes:

Doctoral students need better library skills
Can get away with Internet searching first few years
– getting them more involved and trained, more mastery and satisfaction

Pretest, Training, Post-test

Module Library Training

Access and Navigation
– Sage research methods online
– where, what, how to start
– ask a librarian, less than an hour

Advanced Research
-Boolean operators

Scholarly Articles and Popular Works
– peer review

Subject Guides

Evaluation of Sources
-scope, currency, authority, and audience

Organizing Research


Thinking Outside the Fan Box: Promoting Literacy with Facebook and Twitter

Illinois Library Association 2010 Conference
Navy Pier, Chicago
September 29, 2010

Stacey Shah, Presenter
Distance Learning Librarian
Elgin Community College (ECC) Library

Online access to the information covered in this poster session is available at

The Concern

In 2009, I attended a panel session at the Association of College and Research Libraries National Conference entitled Widening the net: a research-based collaboration to foster success among at-risk learners by Librarian Kaijsa Calkins and Lecturer Rick Fisher from the University of Wyoming.

Three major ideas of this session caught my attention:

  1. Studies show the literacy among college students is declining.
  2. Reading is a skill. The more one reads, the better a reader one becomes.
  3. Librarians can help college students by encouraging them to read ANYTHING.

ECC Librarians’ Question: Can we use social networking resources to get students to read more and expose them to valuable online resources?

The Process

  1. Choose a valuable online resource with article of interest to patrons
  2. Copy article URL
  3. Use to shorten URL and create short, enticing description of article
  4. auto feeds post into Twitter; becomes a “Tweet”
  5. Copy “Tweet” and paste into Facebook feed
  6. Facebook auto feeds to Fanbox on library website

The Results

Data Collected

  • 322 resources shared
  • 183 hits this month
  • 3127 hits this year
  • 106 Facebook Friends (doubled after adding Fanbox to library homepage)
  • 77 Twitter followers


  • Encourages students to read
  • Exposes students, faculty, and staff to valuable online resources
  • Allows all librarians to easily update library webpage with good resources
  • Ties together library’s presence in Facebook, Twitter, and the ECC Library Blog
  • Allows librarians to track which resources attract the most interest
  • Promotes the library as well as its resources, services, and events



Facebook Developers Wiki, Like Box (Fan Box) creation instructions,



Calkins, Kaijsa and Rick  Fisher. Widening the net: a research-based collaboration to foster success among at-risk learners. Association of College and Research Libraries National Conference, 14 March 2009.

Romano, Lois. “Literacy of College Graduates Is on Decline: Survey’s Finding of a Drop in Reading Proficiency Is Inexplicable, Experts Say.” The Washington Post, 25 Dec. 2005. Web. 2 Sept. 2010. 

Breaking the Ice, Building the Momentum: Successful Strategies for Beginning a Library Instruction Session

Presenters: Carrie Donovan and Rachel Slough, Indiana University Bloomington

Summary: This session was about starting a library session with an active learning activity to increase student engagement and get them energized. My favorite idea was to play the game “Telephone” to illustrate why it is important to trace information trails and explain how information can change depending on the source and time it is accessed. Great way to illustrate problems with Wikipedia.

Merging rational thought with creative thought

Research Study

Is active learning good in the first 5 minutes?

First 5 minutes, you will learn the most

Traditional approach – these are my learning outcomes and then talking to teach them

Library Instruction Cookbook – lesson plans for active learning

– loss of control
– early burn-out
– too forced or juvenile
– time
– cheese-factor

Evaluating the culture of the class before they come – are they used to discussion and engagement activities?

– enthusiasm contagious
– fun
– pedagogically sound approach

– catching students’ attention

– use clickers in first 5 minutes
– do informal poll/ ask silly questions

–  told riddles or brain tease (don’t tell answer until the end)
 – challenge/unexpected things will happen

Regret the air – news stories not checking their sources (good example of importance)

Clips of Office and 30 Rock dealing with Wikipedia

Colbert’s Wikiality

Current news story that is really relevant – chat roulette – turn into a teachable moment

Getting class to think about audience

Librarians with tattoos – elicits conversation

Connecting with what students already know

Make things into the library relevant

Don’t quote me

Investigate what’s in the box

Making the Case: Leading Information Literacy Programs to Success

Presenter: Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, UIUC

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe led a workshop on using diagnostic and developmental tools to build successful information literacy programs. She basically provided a vocabulary to examine different components of a program and to troubleshoot when things are not going well. I thought these tools could provide a really great way to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of the  information literacy instruction provide. It might also help us receive more recognition from the institution.

Diagnostic and Developmental Tool

Recreate – False Starts/Treadmill – Confusion – Frustration

Vision: What is it we are actually trying to accomplish?

Skills/Capabilities: Do the people involved have the skills/capability necessary? Often not time available for people to become a better teacher?

Incentives: When you want people to change, perceived value of the change has to be twice as good as the current state. (Economics of change) Not necessarily money

Resources: We need budget and resources (often underestimated)

Action Plan: Can be different ones, but need something to get you from point A to point B

Without vision, you have confusion

Without skills/capabilities, you have anxiety

Without incentives, you have resistance/restraint

Without resources, you have frustration

Without action plan, you have false starts/treadmills

Vision = Clarity, gives you clear sense of what you are trying to accomplish

Skill = confidence

Incentive = Motivation

Resources = Satisfaction

Action Plan = Goal-directed

We don’t tend to cost out the time it requires people to be involved in new activities

A Librarian and a Hashtag: Embedded Virtually in a Classroom via Twitter

Presenter: Ellen Hampton Filgo, Baylor University

Summary: Presenter experimented with using Twitter as an instructional/learning tool in a small class. Proved to be a great experience – allowed her to be virtually embedded in a live class during the class meeting times and to provide resources to students in a “just in time” manner to students when their interest was ignited. Also, allowed her to form a much stronger connection to the students (she became “our librarian” to them) and to be involve with their research processes from the start.

Other In-Class Experiments with Twitter:

  • Monica Rankin – UT Dallas – used Twitter during lecture class
  • Cole Camplese – Twitter backchannel at Penn State

Her experiment – use Twitter in a smaller class and involve a librarian in the process

  • Worked with Dr. W. Gardner Campbell, director of Baylor’s Academy for Teaching and Learning Used in New Media Studies class
  •   9 students all honors students
  • Intro to new media – using media tools to help learn Required to blog, tag in deliscious, participate in class discussion via Twitter Motherblog

How she managed the project

  • tied everything together Used Tweetdeck –
  • monitored group and hashtag 
  • created a Twitter group – to group as a class
  • instructor asked the students to greet the Librarian in every class
  • sent links to the class as they met – books in catalog – websites, wikipedia – basically related to the author being discussed – google scholar citations
  • explained library resources – explained twitter (RT, @ replies)
  • included some just for fun Tweets
  • invitations to come to ref desk
  • students attended a social media conference at the college – saw a small a model of broadcast tweeting – when it hit home how Tweeting works


  • model what you want your students to do
  • Librarian Jazz – improvisational – join in with the discussion without adding the wrong note –
  • make connections between class and the students own personal knowledge Blogging
  • she made great connection with students –
  • experience enhanced by posting to class blog- posted about library resources – getting at student’s research process a lot earlier – send resources even earlier in the process

Student responses

  • very positive
  • Asked for help in other classes
  • Students very comfortable with asking librarian for help
  • referred to her as “our librarian”
  • Informal survey – good feedback – students more aware of library resources “including librarians themselves”
  • Still gets questions through Twitter and Facebook

Best Practices

  • Use a hashtag
  • Archive class tweets (Library of Congress)  – TwapperKeeper (can’t do it after the fact)
  • Use a URL shortener that uses statistics
  • Considerations: What about “Tweckling”? – heckling the librarian or other participants
  • Need to consider how you will set things up
  • Can just do one class session – time consuming

Points to Consider:

  • Is Twitter just a distraction?
  • modeling good behavior – laptop is more than just notetaking, can learn with
  • Great for both large and small experiences
  • Are certain classes better suited?
  • Not sure yet Future Directions – blogging a lot more – good interaction, more opportunity for interaction
  • how do you scale up?

How to initiate this experience:

  • follow tweets/blogs of students Find profs who use twitter professionally or personally
  • Integrate Twitter into embedded librarian program New media, journalism, educational technology
  • She did follow students and they were required to follow her
  • Students were allowed to lock down account for privacy

Additional tools

  • Tweetmenot – can mute users  discussions
  • Yammer – internal network connected to particular domain
  • Edmoto – educational network
  • Twitter HotSeat – use institutional account

What does this article  concerning a “test” conducted by a Dublin university student to evaluate information accuracy and accountability say about information globalization and today’s information climate? On one hand, it goes to show how unreliable Wikipedia can be if so many were so quickly dupped by trusting the information there (and professional journalists no less). On the other hand, how do we encourage students to seek out more authorative information when it appears from such a study that newspaper sare also inaccurate, slower to correct information than Wikipedia, and are actually using Wikipedia as their primary source of information.

Not only is everybody using them, but it turns out – just about everybody likes them a lot too!

I went to two different sessions at the ACRL Conference regarding studies appraising the value of SpringShare LibGuides, one of Cornell University and Princeton University students and faculty and the other of student at Grand Valley State University, Boston College, and Georgetown University. In both cases, the rooms were packed – standing room only. Apparently, a lot of academic libraries are either already using LibGuides or are very interested in doing so. It felt good to know that we already have them at ECC and are making good use of them. For our students who transition on to a four year institution, this could make their transition that much smoother.

The session “Do the Outcomes Justify the Buzz?” reported on a survey of faculty, LibGuide authors, and students from Cornell and Princeton. They also collected data directly from SpringShare to inform their report. They found 100% of those surveyed believed that the guide was valuable for class and 85% perceived an improvement in student assignments as a result of LibGuide use. Of the students asked, 94% said the guide was valuable and 90% wanted to use one for another class. Course guides were the the most popular type of guide at Cornell, while customized guides with specific assignments were more popular at Princeton.

The other session, “Reinventing Research Guides: LibGuides at Two Academic Libraries” reported similar positive reaction to the guides. Among there recommendations were:

  • Users often expected subject guides, but prefered more specific customized assignment or area guides
  • Discriptions of resources were helpful
  • Expected the guides to have help features, how-tos, and explicit guidance if they needed it
  • Expected high quality information
  • Majority had NOT contacted a librarian through the guides
  • 90% liked the tabs at the top for navigation
  • Around 85% to 90% found it easy to find the individual guides from the main page
  • 90% wanted links directly to the guide placed in their course management system
  • Survey turned out to be a great promotional tool – more than 4,000 responses

In addition to their survey findings, the presenters also went into the history of subjects guides. The have posted their presentations slides for viewing.

View more presentations from rikhei.

Aside from pride in the fact that we are already using LibGuides really well at ECC, I also walked away with a new perspective on how to pronounce LibGuides. I have been pronouncing it “Lib” as in rhymes with “bribe”, but it seemed the majority of presenters favored “Lib” as in “Liberty”. One presenter joked that that should be the subject of the next set of LibGuide surveys.