Monday, April 24, 2006

High School Students Get Jump Start on Using Libraries' Resources

While many parts of campus are quiet during Spring Break, the Ball State University Libraries' Instruction office and classrooms are buzzing with activity. Every year we teach 8 to 10 research orientation sessions for visiting high school English classes. This year during Spring Break we accommodated about 220 students, grades 10, 11 and 12 who needed assistance with research paper assignments.

Teachers from high schools in Cowan, Oak Hill, and Hagerstown decided that visiting Bracken and receiving library instruction was the introduction to library research that students needed.

Instructional Services librarians conduct instruction sessions for these students in one of two electronic classrooms at Bracken Library. They instruct the students on concepts like constructing good searches, narrowing research topics, and evaluating sources. They also provide demonstrations and recommendations for databases, reference materials, and CardCat. Class sizes usually range from 15 to 35.
A typical visit by one of these high school groups begins with a 40- to 60-minute drive to the Ball State campus. They enter the instruction sessions, which generally last about 30 minutes, and then begin working on their research while the library instructors provide one-on-one assistance. After about 30 minutes of work with the librarians close at hand, the classes will exit the classrooms and filter into the main part of Bracken, continuing to work for another hour or two. The students will finish their day with lunch at the Atrium or the Village before heading back to school by 3 p.m.
University Libraries Serves the Community
Spring Break isn’t the only time that Instructional Services conducts sessions for high school classes. Blue River Valley High School usually visits in November and April. Heritage Hall Christian School has a standing appointment for the first week of January. Indiana Academy will bring a few sections of science students in the fall and English students in the spring.

Eastern Hancock often brings their Library Media class in the fall. Students from Jay County, Burris, and Delta also make regular visits in the late fall or early spring semesters. A group of 14 home schooled students also received library instruction this year.

To date for the 2005-06 academic year, 657 high school students have passed through the doors of our library instruction classrooms, and two more classes are expected in the next week.

For more information, contact Jeremiah Kinney, Library Teaching Assistant, or (765) 285-8017.

This story was published in The Library Insider April 2006, pg. 7.


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