8A: Reflection on Class 7

After leaving class, I was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and caring nature of my fellow baby librarians. I can only imagine what good they will do as they gain more skills and experience in the field. If real librarians are half so wonderful, I definitely picked the right direction to go in my future.  From our past readings, I knew that the library community continually evaluates itself, its community, and its users to maintain a certain standard of service and effectiveness. From talks with librarians, I knew they were competent and friendly. Our librarian guests even brought us library related gifts!  For some reason, it took seeing the Resource Guides that they had created to realize this fact.

If I had to choose one word to describe all the Research Guides as a whole, it would be insightful. Even though we created our own target audience and chose our own subject, the groups managed to bring that group to life through the details. The Cooking in the United States from 1950 – now included a section on BOOLEAN searching. Providing more advanced search strategies to upper-underclassman seemed very appropriate to me. Those students would have build up a foundation in how to find the information they need in previous years of study and known how to find information (if not where, which is the guides main purpose). What they are prepared to learn at this point is efficiency and accuracy, which is exactly what BOOLEAN strategies provide. This group provided not only a guide to help students study for a particular social history assignment, but a way to build on their existing foundations and  tools to extend their research process.

It seems to me that there is an explicit purpose to the guide, usually revealed by the title, and another implicit purpose that is revealed in the details. For the group already discussed, the explicit purpose is helping write a history research paper and the implicit one is to help those students improve how they search for information. Another group from the Geography, Maps, and Data, Oh my! resource guide’s explicit purpose to provide resources to students and educators involved in AP Human Geography. While that is an admirable goal, it is the implicit purpose that carries the true meaning for the guide. Implicitly, this guide aims to get information to high school students who lack access due to location, socioeconomic issues, or undersupplied school districts. The group did this by making a concentrated effort to include only resources that everyone can access for free, without being close to a college campus or having to subscribe to a service. It is that type of thoughtful inclusion that made me very honored to be apart of the program and future of information.

Beyond realizing how wonderful we all are,  I also have seen for the first time why UMSI encourages us to participate in so much group work. A group made entirely out of students who had attended Ann Arbor Public Schools would have had easy access to the plethora of information held by both our public library system and the University of Michigan. This group would not have the background to realize that some high school students and educators struggle to find and access even basic information necessary to their education. We all bring something to the table when we come together as a group. I am happy that I can (finally!) see the real world value of working in a group.

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2 thoughts on “8A: Reflection on Class 7

  1. I really appreciated the emphasis that the Geography/Maps group placed on open access tools as well. If we want to be serious about access and make good on the democratizing potential of libraries as knowledge institutions, we have to mind we don’t set ourselves or our users up to trip over paywalls.

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  2. Your observations on explicit versus implicit purposes was great. Your observations are really inspiring in that you were looking at and analyzing each of the resource guides from the user perspective. I personally was looking at each guide from a library perspective, thinking about how it could help the user but not exactly putting myself in their shoes. You really seem to hit the nail on the head here! I also liked how you pointed out the value of having different people from various backgrounds working and bringing together different viewpoints to produce dynamic content.. The collaborations in our class have been nothing short of stunning (especially after seeing the group work)! Yay for groups!

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