Handling the truth?

Librarian costume(Picture licence: CC Librarian Avenger)

I still haven`t had the time to read the full report “Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age”, but I will. According to Michael Stephens who wrote a summary for the Library Journal, the results from the project are enough to wet any librarian`s eye.. and not in a good way..

[Quote Stephens]:

On the research process: “Students relied on librarians infrequently, if ever, whether they were conducting research for coursework or for personal use. Moreover, students…[used] librarians less often than…in the 2009 survey….” (p. 8)

On evaluating resources: “Few students in the sample asked librarians (11%) or writing center staff (7%) for help…and even fewer turned to librarians for help evaluating information for personal use (5%).” (p. 13)

On information-seeking for personal needs: “70% of this year’s….students frequently turned to social networks, such as Facebook…in their daily lives.” (p. 40) [end quote]

Houston, we have a problem

Why don`t student trust librarians when it comes to academic writing? Are we invisible in the institution? Do the students know enough about our services and competensies? How can we gain their trust?

I believe there are more than one solution. Firstly, we must be bolder and dare go into unknown territory. We must learn how to teach and rethink the way we present ourselves through courses and services. There is no such thing as a cataloguer anymore. Everyone must deal with students and staff and contribute to the development of new services. Kill information literacy as a term and focus on skills. Secondly, we must be where the students are. If they want to use Facebook for information searching, then make our presence there be of value. If they want to use their mobile phones to use the library`s resourses, than we better make good library websites for mobile devices.

Give them what they want!, is my message.

Let`s face it: using the library will never be cool. Then it better be worth it. So let`s make it so.

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