Library and IT inductions for students

The library Help Desk has been very busy in the last few weeks since enrolment. The main query is ‘I can’t logon’. From experience in the next few weeks common questions at the library help desk will be ‘I can’t find this book’ or ‘I can’t find any relevant journal articles on NORA.’ 

For the last three weeks I have been involved in delivering student inductions at our university library. We offer a range of options, including a library induction, an IT one, a joint IT and library one, and a library skills induction. Each one of the induction sessions is intended to be no more than an introduction to the library’s facilities, services and resources. 

We cover the library catalogue, our one-stop information tool NORA to access all the library resources, Blackboard, our online tutorial Skills Plus and IT issues, such as  logging on, e-mail, the U drive, the USB pen, printing and photocopying, and the borrowing of laptops. Sometimes, time permitting, we do a demonstration of the library catalogue and NORA and try and use relevant examples from the student’s own course assignments. Some of the sessions involve some hands-on practice using the resources covered in the presentation.

So, how well are these sessions attended? And, how useful are induction sessions to students?  

Attendance varies greatly, ranging from a full house to a small proportion of the total class size. So where is everyone else? Have they not been informed of the venue for the training session? Can they not get out of bed for a 9 o’clock start? Do they feel so confident in using the library resources that they don’t feel the need to come to one of the sessions? Or, simply, do they not have the time to attend?  

For those that do attend I think they find the sessions worthwhile. Many seem to keep ‘on task’ during the workshop session and some ask relevant and pertinent questions. I don’t suppose we really know how effective our sessions are unless we ask them to complete an evaluation form. And this is only truly meaningful a few weeks after they have had the induction.     

 

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