I have been doing some serious re-thinking of my various bibliographic instruction projects.Often students or faculty think that library instruction is a one-off event or a "knowledge dump" and that once completed, a person is "done" learning about research and the library. We all know it is laughable to think that one is ever "done" with research instruction/help. Librarians, too, need to keep this in mind that personal/professional development is never finished either. Databases come and go, research is constantly moving, and of course everyone's favorite: formats are constantly changing.
Aside from content, think about delivery of instruction. Is a hour long formal presentation complete with slides really the best way to communicate how to research? Think about other ways to explain or teach. Think about using a screen shots or video to explain a process or technique. (I am now a big fan of Wink, Camstudio and Camtasia) Are the examples appropriate and relevant to the particular group? (Masters candidates in nursing are NOT the same as a freshman English composition class!)
My point in this little tirade is that our role in bibliographic instruction is not just help with research for "right now", or a crash course in library science, but to market the library's sources and expertise as an integral part of the education process.This includes not just how to find a peer reviewed article for a basic composition class or specific research for the graduate student; but how to continue the relationship after the specific project is done. As librarians, make sure that in all your bibliographic instruction, the main point to hammer home with our students is "talk to the librarian". It is okay to continue to ask questions and bounce research strategies and ideas off the staff. Bibliographic instruction is an ongoing dialogue with our patrons. We need to make sure that students and faculty are thinking of us for the long haul.
Happy New Year to everyone,