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ACITC Mini-Grant Fall 2009 Ask a Mobile Librarian Project. Project Overview. In fall 2009, librarian Rebecca Weber received an ACITC grant to experiment with the implementation of a mobile reference service on campus. Seven mobile reference sessions were held during the semester.

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Presentation Transcript
project overview
Project Overview
  • In fall 2009, librarian Rebecca Weber received an ACITC grant to experiment with the implementation of a mobile reference service on campus.
  • Seven mobile reference sessions were held during the semester.
  • Using a Dell laptop purchased with grant funds, librarian Rebecca Weber went to several campus locations .
  • At these locations, Ms. Weber was set up to assist students with research questions or library-related issues.
getting started
Getting Started
  • Focus groups were held to determine times, locations, and interest in a mobile reference service.
  • A student assistant was hired to help support the instructional team, assist in promotion of the mobile reference service, and allow coverage of in-library reference service during the mobile library hours.
  • Photo : Jenny Mumfrey ,Student Assistant
recruitment and focus groups
Recruitment and Focus Groups
  • Twenty students were recruited for focus groups via announcements on FitForum.
  • There were five students per group.
  • Of the twenty students, fifteen were international students.
  • Sessions lasted about fifty minutes.
  • Students were given a $10 Barnes and Noble Gift Card as incentive for their participation.
focus group questions
Focus Group Questions
  • Students were asked the following questions:
      • Do you currently use the library reference services? (email, phone, chat, in person)
      • How often do you use the library resources or services? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Once or twice a semester?
      • At what point in your research do you ask for help from a librarian or begin to use the library resources seriously?
focus group questions continued
Focus Group Questions Continued
  • What time of the day would you most likely use the mobile reference service?
  • Where on campus would you most like to see the mobile reference service held?
  • Would a service available in the SUB or other places on campus make you more likely to ask a librarian for help with your research?
focus group findings
Focus Group Findings
  • Most students in the groups used the library as a place to study.
  • Some students indicated they did not know they could ask a librarian for assistance with research.
  • Graduate students were more likely to ask a librarian for research assistance.
  • Overall students indicated that late afternoon or early evening would be a good time to hold the service.
focus group findings continued
Focus Group Findings Continued
  • Students indicated they would use a mobile reference service if they needed it.
  • Groups suggested the SUB and the dorms most often as places to host the mobile reference service.
  • Photo : Ms. Weber and a focus group
  • Based on focus group findings and library hours, seven sessions were planned in the following locations:
      • The Denius Student Center
      • Olin Engineering
      • The Crawford Building
      • Harris Village
      • The Applied Computing Center
      • The Academic Support Center
  • Sessions were held either at 1-3 p.m. or 7-9 p.m.
  • For two of the sessions, librarians Ann Sepri and Nate Hosburgh accompanied librarian Rebecca Weber.
  • Photo: Ms. Weber assisting students
  • Announcements concerning locations and times of the Ask A Mobile Librarian service were distributed via FitForum.
  • Posters were created for display in the library and other campus locations.
  • Table tents were distributed to campus dining facilities.
  • Emails were sent to the class lists.
  • Times and locations were posted on the library blog.
holding the sessions
Holding the Sessions
  • Seven sessions were held as advertised.
  • Ms. Weber posted table-top signs to promote the service while on location.
  • Students occupying the area where the service was held were asked if they needed assistance with research.
  • Actual attendance of the sessions was low with two students asking for assistance and one student requesting assistance via email after having seen the Ask a Mobile Librarian poster on campus .
  • Although attendance of the sessions was low, some positive outcomes resulted from the service:
      • Some students in the focus groups were better informed about library services after participating.
      • A student contacted librarian Rebecca Weber and asked for assistance with her research after seeing the Ask a Librarian poster.
outcomes continued
Outcomes Continued
  • A professor arranged a library instruction session for her students after seeing the Ask a Mobile Librarian service.
  • Other students may have used the library as a result of the posters or seeing a librarian on campus.

Photo: students studying at Evans Library

thoughts for the future
Thoughts for the Future
  • After completing the fall 2009 sessions, the following conclusions were reached:
      • The service should be held in one location, at a consistent time.
      • Many students are unaware that librarians can offer one-on-one research consultations.
      • Overall awareness of the library/library services is increased through advertising.
      • Having a librarian hold office hours (once or twice a week) in conjunction with the Academic Support Center may be a good alternative as a continuation of this service.