Association of College & Research Libraries

BI tip sheet for academic administrators and support staff

Prepared by the EBSS Bibliographie Instruction for Educators Committee Charles Thurston, Chair

College and university departmental secretaries, clerks, and administrative assistants are among the most frequent users of the library, yet their particular job-related library needs are rarely addressed. “BI Tip Sheet for Academic Administrators and Support Staff,” an ACBL committee project, raises points the librarian should consider when planning instructional and informational programs for such clientele. The reader is urged to consult the seminal articles in the bibliography for descriptions of successful programs.

Members of the Bibliographic Instruction for Educators Committee of ACRL’s Education and Behavioral Sciences Section who developed the tip sheet are: Emily Bergman, Bobbi Collins, Tara Fulton, Laura Harper, Patricia McMillan, David Norden, Judith Pryor, Jean Thompson, Thomas Tollman, Joan Worley, and Charles Thurston (chair).

I. Needs assessment

a. Learn from others. Read the literature on the topic and talk with other librarians who have programs of this kind.

b. Review information needs of the target audience by analyzing statistics at the reference desk, talking with reference, interlibrary loan, collection development librarians and other members of the staff.

c. Determine staff interest and availability, level of expertise, and training needs.

d. Seek library support for this activity. Administrative and staff backing must be present, as well as financial assistance.

e. Survey potential users to gauge level of interest and type of need. The survey form should be brief (preferably a single page) with an attractive format; it should include a statement of purpose; questions should be phrased so that they can be answered quickly. Use multiple choice, yes/no questions or rating scales.

II. Logistics

a. Designate the library contact person(s) who will answer all queries from library staff and program participants.

b. Schedule the sessions during normal working hours. Check university and departmental calendars for conflicts.

c. Avoid the first and last few weeks of the term.

d. If you have more than one session, offer a variety of dates and times, e. g. do not offer two sessions on the same day or both sessions in the morning.

e. Involve any staff members whom the library users are likely to encounter. Do not limit involvement to librarians or heads of library departments.

f. Be sure that the sessions are tangibly workrelated, and respond to expressed interests of participants.

g. Decide on a maximum number of participants. Do not sacrifice effective instruction for exposure to the library.

h. Encourage advance registration.

III. Public relations

Develop a comprehensive program of public information. Consult sources listed in the bibliography. Some specific points to consider:

•Announce and advertise the program in campus publications such as faculty and departmental newsletters.

•In writing the press release, remember the basic who, what, when, where, why and how. Contact the editors to find out about deadlines and other requirements.

•Develop personal contacts with media representatives.

•Use commercially available products such as presstype and clip art to produce an attractive and interesting flyer.

•Include a registration form with the flyer.

•The flyers should be mailed to targeted personnel, posted on bulletin boards, and placed at service desks in the library.

•Make a follow-up call and/or send a letter to targeted audience, supervisors, and liaisons.

•Several days prior to the program contact campus media to see if a representative can cover the event.

IV. Program content

a. Determine length, format and focus of the program.

b. Display materials being discussed and allow time for individuals to look through them.

c. Demonstrate skills and allow practice time.

d. Include walking tours of relevant areas.

e. Use audiovisual materials to enhance the presentation.

f. Use refreshments as a drawing card. Consider a brown bag lunch.

V. Evaluation

a. Use a written evaluation method.

b. Give the evaluation form to the group after the presentation and collect immediately for maximum return.

c. Make the evaluation form brief but cover areas such as the following:

•How well did the program meet the group’s expectations?

•Was it useful?

•Was there new information?

•How will it be used by the participants?

•Was something missing?

d. Talk with participants and ask for suggestions and comments.

VI. Bibliography

Borda, Eva and Mary E. Murray. “Introduction to Library Services for Allied Health Personnel,” Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 62(October 1974): 363-66.

Delacorte, Toni, Judy Kimsey, and Susan Halas. How to Get Free Press: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Promote Your Interests, Organizations or Business. San Francisco: Harbor, 1981.

Gilliam, Bodil H. “Beyond Bibliographic Instruction,” Southeastern Librarian 31 (Spring 1981):8-10.

Patterson, Thomas H. “Library Skills Workshops for Support Personnel,” RQ 19(Summer 1980):351-53.

Poyer, Robert K. “Improved Library Services Through User Education,” Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 65(April 1977):296-97. White, Donald J, “Orientation Course Aids Staff on the Job.” Canadian Library Journal 36(February/April 1979): 17-20.

Copyright © American Library Association

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