I’d been hearing rumors about a horde of composition students with a tricky assignment descending on the reference desk. I ended up helping three of them last night, and boy did they need help – their instructor hadn’t scheduled a library visit and their assignment directed them to find scholarly articles related to a particular type of movie. They all were looking for articles about a specific movie, not a director or a theme expressed in film. It was tough to find any scholarly articles about the movies they picked, and I tried multiple databases that might have any amount of pop culture or film studies articles. It was really frustrating, both for me and the students, because the constraints of the assignment were making it difficult to find any usable articles for journals we actually had in the library. By the time the students came to the desk for help they’d already been searching on their own without much luck.
One of them asked “Are there classes we can go to where we can learn all this library searching stuff?”
And I said “Yes, and I usually schedule and teach them, but I don’t think your professor has contacted me.”
The other student said “He should really bring us into the library for one of those classes!”
This was the point where I wanted to slam my head into the reference desk
I’m going to try to send a diplomatic e-mail to the professor to encourage him to schedule his classes for next semester, it might already be too late for these students because their paper is due very soon.
Semester long information literacy courses get emphasized a bunch in the library literature, but this was a case where a quick fifty minute session earlier this semester would have helped the students make better use of the library, with enough time for everyone to be able to get articles from interlibrary loan.