Thursday, July 8, 2010
I have hesitated to voice my opinion on library orientation for years and was so relived to find through my Google Reader that others are of the same opinion. My co-librarian and I spent almost 3 solid weeks (each semester due to block scheduling) on library orientation with the freshmen class every year. We prepared the famous PowerPoint presentation and spent roughly 25 minutes narrating the policies and procedures of our very large library program. The rest of the block was spent on the grand tour and time was allotted to check out books. I ask myself why? When we moved the school to a new location and I lost my co-librarian I knew I could not spend that time on orientation and serve the school properly. So what did I do? As each class came into research, checkout books, use the computers, etc. I would briefly highlight any policies I felt were necessary for that visit. The student handbook included the library policies and I kept a copy close to the circulation desk in case it was ever needed. In the seven years that I spent as the sole librarian in a high school of about 2400 students, I can only remember a handful of times that I had a student borrow it to reacquaint themselves with our rules. I say stop library orientation in isolation. Use each and every opportunity to implement professional development with either students or faculty members in the library than step back and watch them proceed. Facilitate the process in guiding your school community in using the skills you have taught as life-longer learners.