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Best Practices for Library Student Engagement in Co-operative Placements Melanie Browne, Manager, Information Services, Maple Leaf Foods Corporate; Jeff.

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Presentation on theme: "Best Practices for Library Student Engagement in Co-operative Placements Melanie Browne, Manager, Information Services, Maple Leaf Foods Corporate; Jeff."— Presentation transcript:

1 Best Practices for Library Student Engagement in Co-operative Placements Melanie Browne, Manager, Information Services, Maple Leaf Foods Corporate; Jeff Mason, Academic Information Coordinator, Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region; Mary McDiarmid; Manager, Staff Library, Baycrest OLA SuperConference Friday, February 4, 2011

2 Practicum?? Fieldwork???? Definition: Short-term, professionally supervised work experience Part of a schools curriculum Varies in length 2 weeks to …. Other than incidental expenses, student does not receive a salary Source: Coleman, J.G. 1989, p. 22

3 Paid Co-Ops Students on placement for a longer term, e.g., 4 months Students are paid for their time Formal application processes Formal evaluation and credit received Example, University of Western Ontario MLIS students

4 Why Students Do It Benefits for Students Increased self-confidence Gaining actual work experience Creates contacts for future work Helps define career goals

5 Why Libraries Do It Benefits for Host Libraries Opportunity for extra pair of hands Promotion of your discipline, special/ academic/public library setting Meets teaching goals of staff

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7 Literature says…to be outstanding you should; Understand the student is there to learn Communicate with faculty if needed Assign a variety of activities Maintain a real-world schedule Plan to evaluate the student Support without hovering Source: Yontz, E. 2008, p

8 Our Expectations Students.. Are my colleagues Will think of this placement as a real job Will seek help when needed, its okay not to know something Will show initiative

9 Host Libraries – Best Practices Before they Arrive Have a specific project just for them Identify a variety of tasks for them Clear your schedule to make time for them Telephone/ to advise them of arrival time/dress/parking/food/etc

10 Host Libraries – Best Practices During the Placement Tour them around and introduce them to people Make sure they take breaks/lunch with someone Set mutually agreeable goals Explore strengths and weaknesses and give them experiences in both

11 Host Libraries – Best Practices During the Placement Include student in meetings/activities both within or outside the facility Hold them accountable/regularly meet with them Let them job shadow each staff member Provide feedback to them regularly

12 Host Libraries – Best Practices Ending/After the Placement Discuss their evaluation – nothing should be a surprise at this point Be prepared to be a mentor/reference

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14 Students – Best Practices Before you Arrive Contact your supervisor Educate yourself about the facility Prepare yourself mentally for work

15 Students – Best Practices During your Placement Let host know if you arent getting what you expected out of the placement Be professional, yea, hello? Assess culture of the library Be independent, meet new people

16 Students – Best Practices During your Placement Be honest in your skills, experience, e.g. Access database When working on a task, do all you can do, and then ask for help Take initiative, seek out opportunities to pitch in and learn new things Love the grunt work – we all started there

17 Students – Best Practices After your Placement Find something positive about the experience to take forward Dont gossip – library world is smaller than you think Update your supervisor with your status – but dont be a stalker

18 Student Survey Students in field placements at Seneca College, Toronto were asked their top three items they wished host libraries would stop doing. 63 students responded 128 comments for improvement 3 items per student not obtained

19 Findings

20 Scheduling of tasks (27)– students not given a plan or enough work to do Communication (23) – lacked basic information about procedures at host site, such as how to answer phone Variety of tasks (22) – students bored with simple activities

21 Findings Socialization (19)– students not introduced, eat alone, ignored Training (14) – insufficient time was given to allow them to learn new tasks Lack of supervision (13) – no time for students and supervisor absent in several cases

22 Findings Access to resources (6)– students had no computer or access to locked resources such as the lunch room Gossiping/Complaining (4) – library staff bad mouthed each other in front of students Dating student – 1 staff member asked the student on a date!

23 Sources Cited Coleman, J.G., The Role of the Practicum in Library Schools, Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 30, no. 1 (1989): Yontz, E., Be Outstanding in Your Field, American Libraries, 39, no.6 June-July (2008):

24 Thank you! Students in Library Technician Program at Seneca College who shared their experiences. Instructors at Seneca College who assisted in distributing our questionnaire.

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