What is your library doing for Finals Week?

Here at ASU, it’s that dreaded time of year: Finals Week! Students are pulling all-nighters and the sound of quiet sobbing is ever-present.

What’s your library doing to help your students through your school’s Finals Week?

Studying for final Exams
The Peer Transfer blog has tips for students preparing for final exams.

In Hayden Library, info desk staff put out the Finals Week candy bowls. Librarians put together a Finals Week Survival Kit Library Guide to help students find needed info, fast. We also remind students that board games are available at the info desk for some mid-week de-stressing with friends. Hayden is open 24/7 now through the end of Finals Week, too! And I do believe there are also snack tables set out in the Concourse to give students a little energy boost.

ASU put on their Finals Breakfast last week. Breakfast meaning between 9 and midnight, for those planning all-night study sessions!

What is your library doing to help students get through? Share in the comments below!

Project Information Literacy

In case you haven’t heard of Project Information Literacy, they are a nonprofit that partners with University of Washington’s information school devoted to studying research habits of early adults. They have lots of really fascinating information on how college students do their research.

Check out their many useful reports, available free.

I really enjoyed their report “Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age,” so much that I created an infographic of its basic findings. Google actually ISN’T no. 1 for course-related research – course readings are. Students tend to seek information from course readings and their instructors before they approach librarians.

Check out my infographic here: How College Students Seek Information.

Library Renovations: Pedagogy as driver?

I spotted an interesting blog post about what drives the physical shape of academic library renovations. Here at ASU, Hayden Library has completed the first phase of a major library renovation. The sub-basement of Hayden has been partially emptied of its stacks and refitted with futuristic computer classrooms and group study spaces.


Hayden Library’s sub-basement, renovation mostly completed (from ASU Libraries)

Hayden Library is far from alone in launching a major renovation of an academic libraries. Across the world, academic libraries are fighting to justify their existence and negotiate continued occupancy of their physical space. An article at The Guardian this month outlines what’s behind the drive to renovate:

“Pedagogy is the driver for the changes in library design,” says Ann Rossiter, director of the Society of College, National and University Libraries – “changes to the way undergraduates are expected to study, for example, including more social spaces, more social learning and group learning. The way that library buildings are changing is designed to reflect that.”

Academic libraries are thus being repositioned as active “learning spaces” rather than static repositories of information. This trend is several years in the making, and I imagine that only our children will be able to report on the full effects of transformation. Change is always hard, but when it comes to physically re-imagining what many consider sacred ground, emotions can run high.

“The academic library has died,” wrote Brian Sullivan, librarian at Alfred University, in an opinion piece responding to the gloomy tone of a 2011 report on the future of academic libraries. “One reason for cause of death is that library buildings were converted into computer labs, study spaces and headquarters for informational-technology departments.”

Classes just started last Thursday at ASU, so not much word yet on how the lower level classrooms are working out.

How about your library? How has your library been transformed? Any plans for renovation?

Banned Books in Academic Libraries

I read a great article by Scott DiMarco over at ACRL News – “Why I banned a book.”

Yes, I banned a book. I am a seasoned librarian and academic library director and a supporter of free speech and democracy, but I banned a book. The term heresy quickly comes to mind in the world of librarianship, but the story is much deeper than it first appears. The very temporary banning was simply an object lesson to our campus community on the arbitrary and capricious nature of censorship, as well as providing an interesting take on the nature of social media. Read the full article

Yes, academic librarian Scott of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania banned a book – but not for the reasons you think. He banned a book to stir up emotions on a campus that showed no interest in attending Banned Books Week events. And it worked, too! Thousands of people responded with outrage – to what they found out was a hoax.

Are these desperate times for library events?

I’m sure you’ve experienced similar frustrations at your library. You plan an event months in advance, hire a speaker or come up with what you think is a brilliant presentation, and then four people show up. All of whom are colleagues.

What would you do? Would you merely cope with disappointment or would you vow to boost attendance next time?

How far would YOU go to get the academic community interested in the issues that your library is promoting?

Read the rest of Scott’s article over at ACRL News, and chime in with your thoughts below!

“So You Have Blue Hair”: On looks and working in a library

Say the candidate walks into the interview with blue hair and piercings. Maybe she’s also wearing bright pink boots along with her slacks and blazer. What do you think?

Katy Perry does well for herself, right?

Public library employee Elinor Crosby, of Nova Scotia, says that she stays true to herself by maintaining a professional look but also incorporating her personality, which includes all of the above:

The librarian who convinced me to go and do my MLIS insisted that librarians didn’t care what you looked like as long as you could do the job, and I have found this to be true.

In my limited library experience, I haven’t met any library employees with hair color that doesn’t occur naturally, or with uncommon facial piercings, but I’ve definitely met people that are proud to show off their personal style with their work attire. Yet, we don’t seem to have much of a dress code at my library at Arizona State, and I think most people here dress however they feel most comfortable.

What do you think? Does physical appearance of a potential employee affect whether or not you’d be interesting in hiring her, professional skills aside?

See the entire post over at INALJ: So You Have Blue Hair