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Library Orientation

Library Orientation

Library Orientation is another useful service Laney provides, especially for classes in which students are required to do a research paper such as English 1A, though I also like to include it near the end of the semester when teaching English 201AB, to help prepare students for the kind of work they will be required to do in English 1A.

Phillippa Caldeira, Reference & Instruction Librarian (pcaldeira@peralta.edu), and the staff, are very helpful, in answering any questions you, or your students, may have. She is a consummate professional, and a delight to work with.

Library orientations are designed to introduce students and faculty to the collection, facilities, organization, and services offered by the Laney College Library. Library instruction is designed to promote information competency by teaching library patrons/students the organization and structure of information and the variety of research methodologies employed to access relevant information in an effective, efficient, and timely manner.

The Library Orientation Request Form can be found on the Laney Library web site under “Library Instruction” in the Navigation column on the left hand side. Here is the direct link: http://lclibrary.coffeecup.com/forms/Orientation%20Request%20Form/

Orientation requests must be made at least one week in advance of the preferred date. Please provide two possible orientation dates – your preferred choice and an alternate date. When you make your request, you will be required to upload a formal, written, and *current* copy of the assignment you are using for the orientation.

The form requires the following information: instructor name and email address, course name, date, time, number of participants, copy of assignment, and any added instructions or support documents. Once the form has been received and all appropriate data is present, the reference and instruction librarian will forward the request to the appropriate librarian.

The librarian assigned to deliver your orientation will be using the copy of your assignment to prepare your orientation—so it is very important that the assignment is current—and identical to the assignment you are giving to your students. If you change or update your assignment, please let the librarian know right away as changes to assignment requirements tend to alter the orientation prep and instruction.

The instructor must be present during the library instruction session. On the request form you will also be asked the name and number of the course you are teaching and how many students you have.

According to the form, “all library orientations are specifically tailored to meet the needs and requirements of the assignment you have given your students. The instructions in your assignment will be used by the librarian to prep for your students (i.e. choose sources, prepare sample searches, and create handouts that are specific to the needs of the assignment).” It is thus vitally important that you make your assignment as specific as possible to prevent the Library Staff from preparing a presentation that veers off into different topics.

It is also highly recommended that you consider coordinating with Phillippa to build a Library Research Guide. Here’s a link with examples of these (including Meryl Seigel’s and Chris Weidenbach’s): http://laney.libguides.com/index.php

There are various ways you can “prep” your students for this library orientation—for many of them are skeptical about why academic articles and sources are more valuable than the kind of research they could do on a google search. Furthermore, our library is not, alas, known for its comprehenseive catalogue. Students need to understand exactly why library research is not mere “busy work” and it’s not ultimately the job of the librarians to convince them. So whether you’re assigning a topic or letting them choose their own, make sure there will be good articles for students to argue against for and against on the web. And, if your students are drawn to using statistics to back up their claim, it’s probably a good thing to show them examples of how statistics can be manipulated, are often taken out of context, and can be unreliable.