Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Successful Credit Course in Library Instruction

A Successful Credit Course in Library Instruction. There is a new issue of MLA Forum online. This is the official online journal of the Michigan Library Association.

Of interest to me is the article by Beth Macleod. She is a great reference librarian and I am fortunate to have her working for me at Central Michigan University. In the article, she relates the history and the current status of LIB 197. This is a credit course taught by librarians (including me) at CMU.

From the site:

For more than 30 years, librarians at Central Michigan’s Park Library have taught Library 197 – Introduction to Library Research, a popular 1-credit course on how to find research materials.

We currently offer 10 to 12 sections in the fall semester and 7 to 10 sections in the spring, with a cap of 25 students per section; most of these sections fill.

I always assumed that such courses were common, but librarians at other institutions often express surprise at the success and longevity of the course and ask how we manage to attract so many students, especially since Library 197 is not a required course for most programs.

Library 197 is just one part of our bibliographic instruction program. We also do one-shot sessions for individual classes and last year we added an online tutorial, P.L.O.T. (Park Library Online Tutorial) to our website (based on TILT from the University of Texas). We view the tutorial as an alternative, not a substitute, for the traditional course. Enrollment in Library 197 has decreased slightly in recent years; this could be attributable to a variety of factors such as the Web, the newly-established First Year Experience program, or the P.L.O.T. tutorial.

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