Monday, June 26, 2006

Article Note: On library instruction and at-risk students

Citation for the article:

McDermott, Dona. "Library Instruction for High-Risk Freshmen: Evaluating an Enrichment Program." Reference Services Review 33.4 (2005): 418-437.

I read the article via Emerald.

After reading this article, I found myself wondering if that was it. I did not feel it told me anything terribly new. It felt more like another of those LIS "how we did it" articles that seem to be a genre in library science academic articles. In this case, the article looks at how an enrichment program for at-risk students at a particular library works. There is a look at the library literature on the topic of library instruction and at-risk students. This is an area in the library literature that needs further investigation given the lack of good literature; the author was able to identify 11 articles related to this.

The article outlines how the program for a creadit-bearing study skills course with a library component was established. The class was under the English department, and the librarians would teach between one and three library-related sessions. Not surprisingly, when it came time to evaluate the course, the professors and librarians had discrepancies in their responses.

The author provides a list of recommendations based on the evaluations, which do make for good suggestions. However, some of those recommendations are common sense such as the need to have the research assignment connected to the library research segment. I think any instruction librarian with some experience could have known that. I guess the article's findings provide some validation to our experiences.

What I did find useful were the survey questions and the instruments in the appendix. I can use those to help me devise some survey and instruments in my setting. And yet, other than this, I felt that I could have skimmed, or even skipped the article, which is something I rarely say for an article related to library instruction.

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