Volume 16, Number 2, July 2006

Page 1: Spotlight: ILA/ACRL Conference | Page 2: ILA/ACRL Reports | Page 3: News
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ILA/ACRL Newsletter small logo

Spotlight on the ILA/ACRL Spring Conference 2006

Powerpoint slide of David Conley's speechHigh School to Higher Ed: Helping Learners Make the Leap

Dr. David T. Conley presented his keynote College Knowledge: What it Really Takes for Students to Succeed and What We Can Do to Help at the Spring ILA/ACRL Conference in Iowa City.  The speaker had many insightful revelations for the crowd of school and college librarians. His talk was based on the research he has conducted over several years on the gaps between high school education and college entry level skills.  He described the United States education system as very divided and noted the lack of communication between K-12 and colleges.  One phenomenon he mentioned was that high schools used to be "sorting" places.  It was where students were tracked into college or non college curriculum.  Now, there is an assumption that most students will go to college.  It is not always best for all students. 

David ConleyDr. Conley offered suggestions for improvements. They included less elective classes for students, more vertical integration of subject matter (classes building on each other) and better use of the senior year of high school. He also believes that there must be an effort to align high school systems with higher education.  Students should be introduced to typical syllabi for college classes to help them understand the challenges ahead.  His book offers many of these helpful suggestions as well as a Checklist of College Readiness. Reported by Lisa Stock, Des Moines Area Community College.

Reported by Lisa Stock, Des Moines Area Community College



ILA/ACRL Conference Scholarship Winners for the ILA/ACRL Spring Conference 2006 

At the time of the ILA/ACRL spring conference, I had been an academic librarian just 3 months.  I very much valued the opportunity to learn from the expertise of librarians from across the state.  The sessions I attended were thought-provoking, and I plan to incorporate some ideas I gained into my own reference and instruction responsibilities.  In particular, I came away with some creative ideas for marketing library services and some additional ideas for making campus collaborations successful.

I found it particularly encouraging that school and academic librarians came together at this conference.  Because I work primarily with first-year students, I am excited to see this collaboration taking place in Iowa.  The dialogue reminded me that excellent work is being done at the high school level across the country to prepare students for college success.

Thank you for the honor of the conference scholarship.  Such an opportunity demonstrates the association's commitment to professional development, particularly for new librarians.  I look forward to working with librarians throughout the state and seeing you at many more conferences!


Anne Marie Gruber
Reference & Instruction Librarian
Charles C. Myers Library
University of Dubuque

As a first-year librarian, the Drake University Librarian for the First Year Experience and a first-time ILA/ACRL conference attendee, I was eagerly looking forward to spending April 21 in Iowa City meeting and learning from my colleagues from around the state. Unlike many things one looks forward to, the ILA/ACRL 2006 Spring Conference did not disappoint!

From the hubbub of attendees acquainting and reacquainting themselves over breakfast before the keynote speech to the informal discussions over lunch, I was impressed by the level of collegiality among Iowa academic librarians.

I was also impressed by the quality of the concurrent sessions surrounding the conference theme "High School to Higher Ed: Helping Learners Make the Leap".

The conference presented a unique opportunity to learn about important transition issues relevant to institutions of higher learning and I learned a great deal, much of which I was able to implement immediately in my work.

All in all, the conference was an enriching and rewarding experience and one that I hope to repeat for years to come!

Mireille Djenno

Librarian for the First Year Experience

Drake University

Pre-conference Dinner at the Old Mill Restaurant

ILA/ACRL Participants at the Mill RestaurantThe pre-conference dinner was held from 6pm to 8pm, Thursday night, April 20th, at the Mill Restaurant, 120 E. Burlington, in Iowa City.



ILA/ACRL Participants at the Mill Restaurant









Napoleon Dynamite Goes to College:  Alternative Routes to the Library for First-Year Students
Elizabeth Schau, Cornell College & Amanda Swygart-Hobaugh, Cornell College

This presentation described a project at Cornell College designed to convince student peer groups (Residence Assistants and Peer Advocates) of the usefulness of the library --, its staff and resources -- to students beginning their academic careers. The premise was that late-teen students might find the library more appealing and (as my generation might say) relevant if its services could be depicted in terms of current late-teen popular culture.

The title makes reference to a particular piece of that popular culture. The group at Cornell devised a series of skits that placed Napoleon Dynamite & Co. in library situations. The audience liked the program and, much more important, carried away the critical information-- whether it was the utility of RefWorks or the approachabilty of the library staff. The message was one that those of us in the library world would find familiar, even if the setting was not.

The authors demonstrated the continuing truth that it is not sufficient to have excellent resources and knowledgeable staff in a library unless the primary clientele can be drawn in to make use of them.  The methods may differ between institutions and times, but the principle remains the same.

Reported by Jeff Dodd, University of Iowa

Subjects Matter: Content Reading in the High School
Kristin Steingreaber, Southern Prairie AEA 15

Subjects matter conference session

Kristin  Steingreaber, an AEA 15 Media Specialist,  provided an overview of the importance of  encouraging  high school teachers to incorporate additional reading material, beyond textbooks,  into the classroom. Incorporating "real books", either fiction or non-fiction, into the classroom gives students the opportunity to read other books, besides the class text, about a particular subject. Kristin also urges teachers and students to view reading as a community activity and encourages the formation of student book clubs. As a fellow book lover, I enjoyed hearing Kristin provide brief summaries of several books she has recommended to teachers and students. Kristin encouraged everyone to read Subjects Matter: Every Teacher's Guide to Content Area Reading by Harvey Daniels and Steven Zemelman. This book provides practical classroom activities related to reading, and it includes an extensive list of books to incorporate in the classroom. The following websites were also mentioned as sources of reading lists for K-12: National Science Teachers Association (http://www.nsta.org/ostbc), National Council for the Social Studies (http://www.ncss.org/resources/notable/), and The National Council of Teachers of English (http://www.ncte.org/collections/summerread). Kristin also encourages teachers to use EBSCOHost to locate additional reading materials.


Although most of the session attendees were media specialists, Kristin's presentation was relevant to academic librarians who may be involved in first-year experience programs that include a "common reading" or campus-wide reading initiatives. Many of the books Kristin suggested are applicable to undergraduates and would be appropriate for use in the college classroom.


Powerpoint Presentation: http://www.iasl-ia.org/content_reading/4_06_content.ppt

Bibliography of Suggested Books: http://www.iasl-ia.org/content_reading/bibliography_4_2006.pdf

Reported by Andrea Dinkelman, Iowa State University

What Beginning College Students Say About High School Library Research Experiences
Karla Krueger, University of Northern Iowa

What beginning college students say about high school conference session

Karla Krueger presented her ongoing doctoral research. Krueger introduced valuable literature covering the Information Inquiry Process, student behavior and student characteristics. Sixty-seven students in a 1 credit-hour elective library-orientation course at UNI were given a survey to explore relationships between their high school experiences and their present use of library resources.  The majority of students had been instructed in ways to find information using libraries (75%), but over one quarter had "almost never or never" had any instruction.  The numbers were similar for how often the students had library research assignments.  Students preferred to have a broad topic given to them and then choose their own angle within the assigned topic (60%).  Student that were able to choose their own topic appeared to enjoy researching better. Students ranked books and free websites evenly as their preferred type of material (36.5%), they did not mention magazines or newspapers as a choice and indicated that they next chose online databases (13.5%).  Krueger mentioned the limitations of generalizing her small sample to larger contexts. She plans to continue similar research on possible a larger scale.

Reported by Lisa Stock, Des Moines Area Community College.

Who's Watching:  USA PATRIOT Act in Iowa Academic Libraries
Amy Paulus, University of Iowa; Kate Hess, Kirkwood Community College; Ryan Gjerde, Luther College & Michelle Holschuh Simmons, University of Iowa

Who's watching conference sessionMembers of the ILA/ACRL Ad Hoc Advocacy Committee, Amy Paulus, Kate Hess, Ryan Gjerde, and Michelle Holschuh Simmons, presented on the USA PATRIOT Act.  This topic was determined to be of importance to the subcomittee on Intellectual Freedom/Equity of Access and this presentation is the culmination of this subcomittee's work. 

Michelle Holschuh Simmons began the session with background information about the group and ended with the results of the survey that was distributed to all academic libraries in Iowa about the USA PATRIOT Act.  The results themselves were not surprising although the high rate of return (62%) was astounding!  For the complete results of the survey, please visit this website:  https://survey.uiowa.edu/wswebtop.dll/WSPubReport?esid=264&subaccountid=1

Amy Paulus provided the literature review on the topic of the USA PATRIOT Act and spoke about what the current, print literature is saying.  Articles published ranged from measures in the USA PATRIOT Act that help restrict the manufacuring of meth to nuns in Florida being arrested as a result of the USA PATRIOT Act.  Libraries and librarians are very vocal in the literature as well, although information specifically about academic libraries was quite scarce.  For the complete bibliography, please see the handout located at:  http://www.iowaacrl.org/conference/2006/files/handout-long.pdf

Ryan Gjerde provided an update to recent changes in the USA PATRIOT Act and noted that ALA provides a lot of benefical and current information about this piece of legislature.  http://www.ala.org/ala/washoff/WOissues/issues.htm is an excellent website to find current updates.

Kate Hess provided hands-on information about we can do in our libraries.  To summarize:  be aware, discuss, inform, hold staff training, review collection, and conduct a privacy audit are all important measures we can take in our academic libraries.

Reported by Amy Paulus, University of Iowa

First-Year Students: Are They Ready for Research?
Karen Lehmann, Wartburg College; Kathy Magarrell, University of Iowa; Amanda Swygart-Hobaugh, Cornell College & Mary Jo Langhorne, University of Iowa SLIS

First-year students conference session

Mary Jo Langhorne served as the moderator for a very interesting panel discussion about first year college students and their level of preparation and readiness to conduct research.  All three institutions administer some type of information literacy assessment to first-year students. Students answer questions in the following areas: the ability to formulate search strategies, interpreting citations, plagiarism and paraphrasing, and evaluating resources.


Karen Lehmann, Information Literacy Librarian, has been at Wartburg for six years. Prior to her arrival at Wartburg, Karen was a media specialist. Pre-tests have been given to first-year students since Fall 2000. The pre-test is administered in the fall to students enrolled in English composition courses. The following areas are problematic for first-year students: difficulty in identifying thesis statements, narrowing search results, selecting appropriate databases, confusion about "scholarly" sources, citation interpretation, and confusion about locating print journal articles. As a result of the pre-test, several modifications have been made to Wartburg's information literacy program. Changes include: a "quizlet" given to 2nd year students to help assess progress; ongoing adjustments to insure that information literacy skills are relevant to Wartburg courses; and increased communication between librarians and faculty regarding Wartburg's "Information Literacy Across the Curriculum" initiatives.


The Powerpoint slides for Karen Lehmann's portion of the presentation are available at: http://www.wartburg.edu/library/infolit/index.html .  Scroll down to the bottom of the page; there is a link to the presentation under "Conference Presentations." I encourage you to view Karen's slides as there is a large amount of statistical data related to the pre-test results.


Kathy Magarrell, Coordinator, Instructional Services at the University of Iowa, indicated that approximately 900 first-year students at the University of Iowa enroll in a college transitions course. Pre-tests are administered to this group of first-year students.  64% of this group are graduates of Iowa high schools. Kathy indicated that 73% are not familiar with the EBSCOHost databases. The EBSCOHost databases are subsidized by the State Library of Iowa and are available in every public school. Karen Lehmann also noted that Wartburg students who are Iowa high school graduates may not be familiar with EBSCOHost databases. Kathy also noted that first-year students also have difficulties interpreting citations.


Based on the pre-test data, several changes to the UI instruction program have occurred. All sections of the college transitions course now include a visit from a librarian. This visit is seen as a public relations tool; the librarians stress that help is always available and encourage students to seek assistance when working on research projects. A new one-hour credit course entitled "Library Research in Context: Communication Studies" was developed by Ericka Raber for UI Communication Studies majors.  Ericka presented a session about this course at the conference; more details about Ericka's presentation are in this newsletter.


The last panelist, Amanda Swygart-Hobaugh, is the Consulting Librarian for the Social Sciences at Cornell College. Amanda shared her experiences regarding the administration of an information literacy assessment to first-year students in an introductory politics course. Amanda shared a summary of pre-test data from 2003 and 2004. Question categories included: search strategy (e.g. questions related to Boolean operators, subject searching, and effective search strategies); locating sources (e.g. best tools to locate books and articles); evaluating sources; and plagiarism. The full assessment is online at the following URL: http://www.cornellcollege.edu/politics/survey/. (Note from Amanda: Please don't complete the assessment online; but feel free to print it out for your purposes.)

Reported by Andrea Dinkelman, Iowa State University

Information Literacy and the First-Year Student Experience:  Campus Collaborations
Kate Rattenborg, Luther College

Information Literacy conference session Quoting "Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole" from Ed Young's picture book Seven Blind Mice, Kate encouraged librarians to see the totality of their information literacy efforts.  Kate then used the components of the first-year experience program at Luther College and the recommendations of ALA's Presidential Committee on Information Literacy as frameworks in discussing the ways Preus Library faculty contribute to students' learning.  First-year students at Luther College receive academic advising in June, read an assigned text in the summer, live in first-year residence halls, take a two-semester course called Paideia, participate in special first-year seminars during the one-month January term, and take a wellness course.


Library faculty contribute to students' first-year experience by serving as academic advisors, by participating in Paideia instruction, by assisting in the development of new January term seminars, and, in the upcoming year, by teaching a January term course.  Paideia, a course required since 1966, is designed to develop students' abilities as critical readers, writers, informed speakers, and researchers.  Library faculty teach Paideia discussion sections, have a representative on the writing committee, assist other professors with identifying supplementary reading materials, and teach a library research unit for all Paideia students in the spring.  Information literacy skills fostered in the spring unit include library research strategies, distinguishing between primary and secondary sources, evaluating information quality, and adopting ethical research practices such as avoiding plagiarism.  Increased student awareness of library services and additional opportunities for collaboration with other campus units are facilitated by the location of the college's writing center and student support services offices in the Library.   (By the way, Kate explained that Paideia is Greek for education.)


Reported by Barb Weeg, University of Northern Iowa

Gone Fishin': Using the FISH Business Model to Prepare Student Workers or 'Real-World' Jobs
Mary Heinzman, St. Ambrose University

Gone Fishin conference sessionThe FISH! Philosophy implementation at the St. Ambrose University Library has proven successful, making the library THE place to work on campus.  Student work in a library is often repetitive, boring, and not well-paid.  The FISH! Philosophy helps combat the first two problems.  Many fun activities are planned to help recruit students as well as to train the student workers.  The FISH! Philosophy also helps reward and recognize the student workers with small prizes, door prizes, and other awards.  The FISH! Business Model is already in place for the full-time staff members at St. Ambrose University Library, which accounts for the high success rate of the implementation for the students.   Mary Heinzman highly recommended a top-down approach to having a successful program - implementing with full-time staff first, and then proceeding with the student workers.

For those of you unaware of the FISH! Philosophy, it was developed at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington and has since spread across the United States within many different professions.  The components of the FISH! Philosophy are:  Play, Make their Day, Be There, and Choose your Attitude.

The outcomes of the FISH! Project at St. Ambrose University Library overwhelmingly point to a successful program.  The quality of work has statistically increased in the student shelving work; students at public desks are more engaged with the patrons; and the student workers are more willing to make suggestions for improvement.  Overall, this program is beneficial on many different levels - students gain a better "real-life" experience; the library is seen as a positive place to work; and the excellent customer service experienced by the patrons in the library increases the positive relationship and support of the university and community.

Reported by Amy Paulus, University of Iowa

Beyond Google Tips and Tricks:  Teaching Web Search Strategies to the Digital Natives
William H. Weare, Jr., Central College

Beyond google conference session

Whatever one's opinion is of the Web as a font of reliable information, the fact is that almost all undergraduates (and probably a great many librarians!) use it as the first and sometimes only source. William Weare's presentation began with this as a given, then focused on approaches that make searching more effective. The logic of the approaches will appeal to librarians and the familiarity of the sources should make it somewhat easier for students to make the transition from random surfing to targeted searches.


While Google is almost certainly the most popular search engine, one of the points stressed is that it does not yield results identical to those of other engines -- one study cited found the first page of results overlapped by only about 1.1% when the same query was made in Ask Jeeves, Google, MSN Search, and Yahoo. The desirability of conducting searches in multiple sources is as true of the Web as it is in more traditional indexes and is easy to demonstrate. A very important strategy suggested was the use natural language queries. This approach both yields results and focuses attention on the main problem of teaching students how to formulate questions. Emphasis was also placed on exploration of the syntax of the various search engines and discovery of how they react to differences in queries, for example, to the same words in different order.

The Power Point slides for Mr. Weare's presentation can be found at this URL: http://www.iowaacrl.org/conference/2006/files/weare.ppt  Many strategies are suggested there, and both the Web sources and bibliography are of considerable value.

Reported by Jeff Dodd, University of Iowa

Access, Evaluate, and Use: Information Literacy in High School
Denise Rehmke, Iowa City West High School; Jim Walden, Iowa City West High School; Beth Belding, Iowa City West High School & Jennie Olson, Iowa City West High School

Access, evaluate, and use conference session

Fostering the information literacy skills of the 1,760 students enrolled at West High School in Iowa City requires more than the library staff of 3 FTE librarians and 5 support staff members, a staff size that brought sighs of envy from the audience.  Systematically integrating information literacy across the curriculum also requires vision, students who are eager to learn, supportive school and district administrations, and creative, flexible classroom teachers who provide class time for librarians to instruct students, incorporate grades from library assignments into overall course grades, and structure course assignments requiring students to apply information literacy skills.  The presenters began their session by crediting the success of their program to all of these program elements and then focused on the information literacy activities that are incorporated into the 9th grade American Studies, symposium, and science classes.


The library staff teaches the students numerous information literacy skills including note-taking, paraphrasing, applying the MLA citation manual in duly crediting authors, searching databases such as EBSCOhost and SIRS, evaluating information resources, and summarizing and critiquing information by writing annotated bibliographies.   Several times throughout the year the librarians teach and reinforce five information evaluation criteria: relevancy (for example, is the information on target for my research topic?), suitability (is the source appropriate for me and my purpose?), authority (how reliable is the information and what is known about the author?), objectivity (how balanced is the information and what is the author's purpose?), and currency (how current is the information and does the publication date matter in terms of my topic?).  The third trimester symposium class highlights "research, production, and presentation" and enables the students to practice and to demonstrate the information literacy skills they have acquired. The presenters generously shared sample teacher contact sheets, library assignments, instructional handouts, and assessment checklists at http://www.iccsd.k12.ia.us/Schools/West/library/iacrl/iacrlindex.htm.  


Reported by Barb Weeg, University of Northern Iowa

No Longer the Accidental Profession: Undergraduate Internships in Librarianship
Jean Donham, Cornell College & Mary Iber, Cornell College

Accidental Profession conference sessionThe reality of the librarian profession is that not many have a burning desire from birth to become a librarian!  In 2004, 53% of all librarians were on their second or even third career choice - making first career librarians a minority.  The profession on a whole is graying as well - in 2000, the average age of a librarian was 49 and 40% planned to retire within 9 years.  Cornell College Cole Library is taking an active role in the recruitment of future libraries by implementing a credit-based Internship Program.

The rationale for undergraduate internships in librarianship are many:  the need for a mix of people - both younger, first career librarians as well as 2nd or 3rd career librarians; the need for a more diverse group of librarians to better relate to the growing diverse population; the need for a mobile profession; and the fact that a strong liberal arts education makes a good librarian.

The Internship consists of several components:  an emphasis on the core values of librarianship, readings of interest to the intern, hand-on work and job shadowing, site visits, and a seminar presentation with the librarians.   This program has been very success at Cornell College and a tangible result is that two to three students each year are pursuing library school upon their graduation from Cornell College.  These students are not only pursuing library school but are entering programs in many different locations in the United States as well.

For more information about the Internship program at Cole Library at Cornell College, please visit this website:  http://www.cornellcollege.edu/library/careers/index.shtml.

Reported by Amy Paulus, University of Iowa

Beyond Scanning: Digital Collections as Community Resources
Bart Schmidt, Drake University

Beyond scanning conference session

Bart Schmidt's presentation demonstrated the combination of comparatively straightforward digital technologies and carefully crafted programmatic content to create resources of continuing utility to both the sponsoring institution and the wider public.  The specific project was the Historic Des Moines collection at Drake University (http://www.lib.drake.edu/heritage/odm/). Of particular note was the integration of searchable maps with photographs and text.  While the "digital" part of the work was, and remains, accessible to all, the complete work included creation of a renovated exhibition space at Drake and the exhibition mounted to inaugurate it.

This presentation showed how the emphasized special collections were placed in historical context and provided an excellent example not only of what such projects can achieve but how they were achieved.

Reported by Jeff Dodd, University of Iowa

Reflections on 'Library Research in Context': Implications for One-Shot Sessions for First-Year Students

Ericka Raber, University of Iowa

Library research in context conference session







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