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Collaborating with your Librarian

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Collaborating on the Library Workshops

All PWR 1 sections will be assigned a librarian who will lead a required library workshop for students that introduces them to important concepts related to research, search methodology, information literacy, source evaluation, and citation management; the workshop curriculum reinforces and builds on work that you already will be doing around these subjects in your classroom.  Library workshop dates tend to fall between weeks 3 and 5 of the quarter, corresponding to the time when students are developing their research questions and topics, collecting sources for their Texts in Conversation essay, and starting to think about their Research-Based Argument. Instructors always attend the library workshop with their students.

PWR-Librarian assignments are announced several weeks prior to the start of the quarter, so you have ample opportunity to collaborate with your librarian about how to best design the students' learning experience.  All instructors should communicate with their librarian -- via email or (preferably) in person -- to plan the library workshop and associated support. 

The library workshop is divided into two halves:

  • The first half, which is attended by both lecturer and librarian, but is run by the librarian
  • The second half, in the same room, that is led by the lecturer (the librarian will not be present)

You and your librarian can discuss other formats; the librarian may agree to stay for the entire session and be available to help students with their searches. 

In consultation with your librarian, you can request to design your class workshop (the first half of class) in a variety of ways, for instance:

  • A workshop that is part tour (perhaps targeted to specific areas of the library) and part instruction on developing search strategies
  • A workshop that focuses exclusively on developing students' search strategies
  • A workshop that incorporates some attention to citation management systems, such as Refworks, Mendeley, or Zotero.
  • A workshop that involves the students finding books in the stacks
  • A workshop where students have time to search their topics

The most important thing is that you and your librarian strategize together about which design would be meet the learning goals for your class and for the workshop.

Ideas for Collaborating with Your Library Partner on Workshop Design

The goal is to create a carefully constructed lesson plan that introduces the students to library resources and search strategies without overwhelming them.  Develop your lesson plan through conversations with your librarian.  You might also talk with other PWR instructors (especially those who have worked with the same librarian in the past) about their insights about optimizing the workshop experience for students.

Some ideas to discuss with your library partner:

  • Anchor the workshop in specific topics – whether the student topics or even focusing on a single topic (perhaps one you’ve been using as a class as a model) as an example for searching
  • Consider how you want to structure the workshop time (do you want to use part of the time for a tour? How much implementation time? Should students have time to go to the stacks? Etc.)
  • Identify what students might already know (whether that be something you’ve already covered in class or what they could have found out on their own), and make sure to share with them what’s “hidden” or less obvious
  • Develop and share a hierarchy of learning objectives and priorities. Talk about how you will scaffold your workshop through activities (and possibly other library visits) before or after the official library workshop
  • Decide on what are “essential tools” that your students should become familiar with
  • Discuss practical search strategies and how students will be applying what they learn (in relation to a particular assignment, transferable skills, etc.)
  • Try to design an activity-centered workshop, to keep students engaged
  • Consider how much implementation time you want (for students to work on their own projects) and how much activity time (small group or group activities) you want – but try to have students learn from doing
  • Clarify device usage strategies and make sure there is clear messaging about it from both the librarian and the PWR instructor.  Can students follow along on their laptops? Search their own topics? Have laptops closed while the demo is going on?  Use phones in relation to searching?