Ideas for library inductions

Earlier this week I attended an exchange of experience event on inductions at De Montfort University. It was organised by Kaye Towlson and based on the TeachMeet model.

The session began with speed networking and thought share bunting, or analogue Twitter, where we could easily share our ideas throughout the event. My contributions which came out of conversations during the speed networking were:

  • less is more
  • first impressions are vital; we need to be seen as friendly and approachable so students will come back and ask questions
  • learn by doing

We were also able to share examples of our marketing and branding as can be seen in the photo below which includes a Check It Out flyer from Warwick and brochure from Leicester.

Thought Share Bunting

Thought Share Bunting

What I especially enjoyed about this event was that all attendees contributed something. It felt very much like a collaborative effort and equal exchange of experience. Some of us gave short presentations, and others produced posters. All the presentations will be on SlideShare at some point and I’ll update this post with a link when they’re up. The rest of this post is a summary of my notes from the presentations, with my slides at the very end. In a future post I’ll write more about what we’re doing at Warwick.

Birmingham City University – Using rounds
All staff in the Learning and Teaching Team at BCU are required to complete a PGCert. The use of rounds was something that Christiana Titahmboh picked up from her PGCert course. These rounds were used in induction sessions after a tour, or presentation, to engage the group. Essentially, you open up the floor to the group for them to make observations and ask questions about what they have just seen. It works particularly well for postgraduate students and small groups. Another benefit is that you get instant feedback on the session.

University of Leicester – One size does not fit all
Leicester apply a flexible approach to inductions so that sessions can be tailored to specific subject groups and study levels. Unlike the other institutions at the event all inductions are done in the departments. A virtual tour, using annotated PowerPoint slides is used to show the physical library. This is favoured over a video because it can be easily kept up to date and adapted to suit the audience.

In addition to the departmental induction sessions a weekly email is sent out over the first few weeks of term to provide refresher information about specific topics, including: library membership, self-issue and return, study zones and electronic resources.

Aston University – Library Matters Live
Aston are in a unique position with all departments timetabled in for library inductions. Their inductions are run as orientation sessions with three demonstration areas on the ground floor. The demonstrations areas are: printing, reserve and collect, and take control. The first does exactly what it says, the second shows the self-issue and return machines and the third is a catalogue demo and introduction to the Information Specialists.

Nottingham Trent University
At Nottingham Trent inductions are run by the subject librarians. For them, the number of students in the group dictates the approach taken. Their library inductions include an IT element as this information is not delivered by anyone else. They also provide refresher sessions scheduled later in the term to give students a chance to actually use the library and then come back to ask questions or clarify information.

De Montfort University
At DMU indcutions in the past have been very traditional including a presentation and guided tour. A number of factors, including staff to student ratios and poor attendance have prompted a revamp for this year. The key elements of their new induction programme is that is interactive, multimedia, multimodal and learner-centred. The programme combines an e-induction to cover the basics and a library trail, or treasure hunt.

University of Warwick – Get Started
At Warwick this year we are looking to streamline our inductions. In previous years there has been both departmental inductions and a central programme, called Check It Out. In the coming year we are re-launching the central programme as Get Started. The main focus of this will be an area for Get Started on the library website where all of our induction materials can be hosted. There will also be sessions running within the library and resources for subject librarians to use in departmental inductions. The emphasis is on flexibility so that we can provide consistent information no matter what method of delivery is used.

Update 27/6: most of the presentations from the event are now available on SlideShare.

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