Monday, September 1, 2008

The Challenge of Average

(I saw this chalked near my office -- it reads "I used to be for the people, but the people let me down!" I wonder who wrote it?)

So I was going to write a gushing piece about the Nursing students I encountered at Camden CC this week: I am really excited to be working with this group, in part because they uniformly seem so motivated and excited to be in their program and to use the library. But then on Opening Day, our president Ray Yannuzzi talked about what it means to work at a community college, and how we should work with the students we have in our classrooms rather than the students we wish we had. (Of course a great many community college students are very bright -- don't get me wrong!) But since then I've been thinking about how many 'average' students probably blow off or disregard the library. That is to say, the average community college student is not a Nursing student -- she/he is not necessarily going to come to the library on the first day and get a library card and ask about our services. 

So, how to reach those average students? It would be easy to give up on them and figure it's their loss, but that's not fair. It's the library's job to assist people, and if they don't know why the library is important and useful it's the librarian's job to enlighten them. I'm still puzzling out how exactly to do this in my role as an instruction librarian. How can I make the library relevant to those identified as The Dumbest Generation? I'm having grand visions of exciting multi-media presentations that will knock their socks off and make them come running to the library, but is that going to work? When it comes down to it, the academic library is generally a serious place for serious endeavors, which seems anathema to what will keep their attention. And I'm not doing them any favors by only showing them the sides of the library that are 'entertaining.'  

I don't have any answers yet. If I come up with anything brilliant, I'll post it here (-:

No comments:

Post a Comment