Clever Gimmick for library induction

During the “How to deliver a memorable library induction” course (see my posts Tips for library induction, my presentation “Find, access and use the Royal Marsden”) I observed my colleagues inductions and presentations.

Some used some very vivid images in order to engage people (see dual-theory concept).

  • A mountain to represent the fact that the library will help you “climbing” through your information need.

Mountains

  • A maze to represent the complexity of a literature search process and how the library can help guiding through it.

labirinto

  • A picture of the Parthenon to represent the OpenAthens account (genius!)

Partenone

What I really liked was the use of a game during the library induction. Basically the librarian had 3 minutes to explain why students should use the library, which facilities are available and she was also able to describe the library team. That sounds pretty boring, however she introduced a clever game element: she asked us to identify 3 lies in her presentation.

This is extremely powerful because we were forced to actively listening to what she was saying. For example one of the lie was the fact the one member of the library team is happy to write dissertations for students. Obviously that was not right but she was able to explain how the library can actually support students during the dissertation time. How clever!

Another librarian showed a set of cards that can be used to interact with people during inductions. These cards have on a side some questions and on the other side a classic library card catalogue image. I really liked the detail!

Some used lovely images of their libraries to introduce services and spaces. In this the audience was able to “visit” the library and imagine to have a tour of it.

Such good ideas! I will use them for sure!

Info skills training – My checklist

As part of my role (assistant librarian in the healthcare public sector) I organise and deliver 1-2-1 and group information skills training. During the last year I developed and tested this checklist. Preparation is the main secret of a good info skills training.

I have to admit that people like my “teaching” style and thanks to this checklist I can time-manage my self and make sure that the information skill training is tailored around the user’s needs.

Let me give you a real example: a new staff member, a Diabetes Dietitian, just joined the Trust and requested an info skills training with me. On the form she specified that she is investigating how to manage weight during pregnancy and in post-natal period for South-Asian women. She also intended to carry a literature review on this topic.

In this case the user had a clear question in mind therefore I simply tailored the training according to her needs. Before the training I carried a brief search on Medline, selected books on the literature review process and printed some poster about the difference between a literature review / systematic review. In this way the user felt that I prepared the training in advanced (true!) and trusted my advice. During the training I performed a search on a database and she was amazed by the fact that by using a proper strategy I was able to retrieve high-quality articles for her research.

This is the feedback I received: “The training was very comprehensive. The trainer explained each stage of the process to aid my understanding. It didn’t just concentrate on the practical side of completing the literature search but included the wider skills needed for reviewing the articles and writing up”

Who me? I would say well done to myself. If I only think that a year ago I was completely new to concepts like literature search, PICO, hierarchy of evidence, systematic review, meta-analysis, RCT etc…welcome to the health information sector!

So this is my information skills training checklist:

Before the info skills training

  1. Preliminary questions in person or via phone:
    • Are they conducting a Literature Review or a Systematic Review?
    • Is this for personal/professional development or a requirement for a project within the trust?
    • What level are they working towards? E.g. Is this for vocational/academic use or will it be peer-reviewed/published?

One hour before the session

  1. Conduct a brief literature search on the topic using the databases available and retrieve a good article.
  2. Print: the article to be used as example; Systematic Review/Literature Review Comparison Chart; PICO Form.
  3. Create a note document that will be used during the training. This should include:
    • The main question
    • The stages of the literature review (Refine question; PICO; Databases available; Access full-text available)
    • References
  4. Bring relevant books along to the session that the reader may borrow (e.g. books on conducting a literature review).
  5. Make sure the PC is working and it is connected on internet

During the session

  1. Conduct a “reference interview” using questioning, listening, paraphrasing skills so you are sure you understand their needs.
  2. Edit or add on the note document any particular topic/service the user would like to explore more

After the session

  1. Ask user to fill the evaluation form
  2. Save any relevant documents created/found during the sessions in the library shared drive
  3. Email the user any relevant documentation (including the note document used during the session).
  4. Work-out any questions the user asked.

What do you think? I find it extremely useful – Happy to share it.

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Stuart Chalmers – Checklist

It’s not you, it’s me

Now that I am “temporaly” unemployed I am thinking about writing about my experience as job seeker in the library/heritage/information sector.

Despite the outcome of a job interview, requesting feedback is the key thing. I normally request it and it’s  so interesting, in the post-match analysis, to realise what the panel was really looking for (unfortunaly too late). At the end it’s a learning process.

Feedback could be sent via email or phone call. This is my personal experience:

  • Feedback via phone.

GREAT! I love hearing directly from a panel member the reasons why I was not selected. This happened to me last month and I rated the call five stars. After the usually sugar-coated intro, like “you were a strong candidate but on this occasion, you have not been successful” comes the interesting part. Initially it’s hard to accept real-time constructive feedback, for example “you did not show enough experience in handling academics’ requests” or “you need more experience in managing a team”, but in a couple of hours I realised that she was absolutely right. This is were the magic happen: I discovered that, as she highlighted, in my previous jobs I did not cultivate enough relationships with academics or supervise experience and they are now key things I have to work on as part of my CPD.

  • Feedback via email.

I am not generally satisfied because feedback sent via email is usually written in a polite but general tone that do not investigate in depth the actual answers I gave and the reasons behind a decision. The title of this post is connected with one of my latest feedback I received. Please read that with me…

An excellent job application covering all essential and desirable criteria. You gave a fabulous interview and were very engaging. It was very clear that you had researched the post and the University beforehand. You supported most of your answers with examples and overall it was a very difficult decision. We would like to wish you all the best for the future.

It’s sounds like it’s not you, it’s me. Wait a second…are you breaking up with me?

My job hunting goes on…jobhunting

An unusual meeting about the format of our meetings

This morning I led a meeting about the format of our team meetings. Thanks to my open-minded manager I had the opportunity/freedom to run a session composed by practical exercises in order to let my team reflecting on our current format of our meetings.

I am proud of the way I run it because I used bits of ideas and inspirations from workshops I attended and readings about how to interact with students. I blended them together, shifted the focus on the main purpose of the meeting and hoped for the best.

In this post I am documenting how I have structured it, I’ll discuss the outcomes in next one.

Here is my recipe.

Uses: Getting my team reflecting on how we can improve our meetings.

Materials required: Flipchart, sticky notes in three colours (preferably green, red and yellow), pencils and scrap papers.

Ivi0375

  • Brain-warming exercise (3-4 min.): As warm up I asked my team to write their names down, vertically, on scrap papers (Francis, 2009:127-129). They had to create a sentence (even surreal) about the desirable outcomes of the session. I was impressed by the results. I was sorry for colleagues had to use “K” or “Y”, even if one came up with “Yes!” (I liked it!). My personal statement was:
    Federica
    Enhances
    Direct
    Experiments
    Regarding
    Implementing
    Communications
    Actively
    This brief session is absolutely beneficial for activating synapses that generate ideas, thoughts on the topic, needs and personal opinions.
  • Brainstorming (3 min.): The team had to write on a blank paper whatever was coming in their minds about the topic. In order to facilitate it I offered two general questions to reflect on:
    – What makes a meeting successful and worthwhile for you?
    – What are the problems and barriers that get in the way of effective meetings for you?
  • Stop, start, continue exercise (5 min.): This was the core exercise of the session, I followed Andrew Walsh’s tips (2010:33). I asked my team to identify the most important concepts they wrote on the paper and classify them using the sticky notes as follow.
    – Red = Stop doing (things done badly or inappropriately)
    – Yellow = Continue doing (things that are good)
    – Green = Start doing (things that we want to introduce or ideas)
    They wrote down their concepts/ideas and then stick them on the flip chart.

Cataloguing part (3-4 min.): Good time for a break while my manager and me sorted out and grouped ideas together. Basically our cataloguing job. Look at the result.

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I’ll discuss the outcomes in the next post. Just to say that my manager’s manager asked me to run this session also for another team. So exciting!

References

Francis, P. (2009). Inspiring writing in art and design : taking a line for a write. Oxford, Intellect Books.

Walsh, A., Inala P. (2010). Active learning techniques for librarians : practical examples. Oxford, Chandos.