Field Experience at North Carolina State University

Role in the Research and Information Services Department

As a graduate student my role will focus on three major tasks: staffing the reference desk, assisting with and delivering instruction sessions, and developing instructional tools. During my time in the library, I will interact with other librarians, mainly those involved in areas of reference and instruction, and learn more about the daily life of working in a university library. I hope to gain valuable insight into different tasks, services, and relationships developing in Research and Information Services (RIS).

Field Experience Relevance to Academic and Career Goals

My original intention upon entering SILS was to leave the program with the skills to become a reference librarian in an academic library. I have made great progress towards this goal by taking various reference classes such as Business Information, Law Libraries, Consumer Health Information, and Government Documents, hoping to broaden my understanding of different types of resources and information in different disciplines. During the Fall 2011 semester I took User Education, a course dedicated to learning about library instructional theory, design, and delivery. While I gained some practical experience during this course, I want to continue practicing these skills to become a more skilled and effective instructor. Completing a field experience in RIS will provide more practice at the reference desk, teaching, and building instructional tools, all of which are valuable and necessary skills for a reference librarian to have mastered. While I will be no means a master reference librarian by the end of the semester, I will have learned new techniques, styles and tools that I can apply to future endeavors.

Learning Objectives

1. Improve teaching skills through assisting with the design and delivery library instruction and outreach sessions for different student audiences.
2. Produce thoughtful and comprehensive web based instructional content and tools for library users.
3. Deepen my skill in communicating with library users about their research needs (reference interviews) and gain greater familiarity with a range of reference tools.

During the course of my time at NCSU I will accomplish these objectives through various tasks and projects. Part of my time will be spent staffing the reference desk, where I will answer reference questions in person, by phone, and virtual venues. I will be able to practice identifying patron needs through reference interviews, and locating, navigating, and explaining resources through these interactions. Further practice will derive from collaborating with the Undergraduate Instruction and Outreach Librarian, the Principal Librarian for Digital Technologies and Learning, and subject specialist librarians on instruction and outreach projects. Projects will include designing and delivering instruction sessions, sitting in on research consultations, and designing an online guide or tutorial. By the conclusion of the field experience, I should be able to deliver an instruction session in a classroom, feel confident in providing accurate reference information, and have produced a resource or project that can be used online or in a classroom.

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