Magazine article American Libraries

Where to Find a Bibliographic-Instruction Corps

Magazine article American Libraries

Where to Find a Bibliographic-Instruction Corps

Article excerpt

After teaching nearly a dozen Bibliolabs, Claudia Rudolph could guess why students were spending a sunny, mid-quarter afternoon in the University of Washington's Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

"Term papers will be due soon, and they realize they'd better figure out how to do the research," said rudolph, a second-year student in the university's Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

The afternoon's Bibliolab helped students wishing to know more about the UW library system. These undergraduates had signed up for bibliographic instruction (BI) on a voluntary basis.

With more than 30,000 students, the university in general has no mandatory BI; but several departments, including communications and sociology, require Bibliolab as part of introductory courses.

BI, of course, is offered at many colleges and universities across the country. What makes the University of Washington program unique is the use of graduate library students as bibliographic instruction interns.

"It's a model program," said Margaret Chisholm, director of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

In a 50-minute Bibliolab session, Rudolph covered an overview of the UW library system; search strategy using student examples; types of publications and media available; access using the card catalog and central serials record; importance of LC subject headings; availability of abstracts and indexes; style for citations; and sample bibliography (for specialized labs such as sociology).

Throughout her presentation, Rudolph encouraged questions from the students. Nearing the end of the three-quarter, six-credit program, Rudolph obviously felt quite comfortable with the format.

"I wanted to improve my public speaking," she said, recalling how another library student had encouraged her to sign up to become a Bibliolab intern. "It also has helped me to learn more about the different tools available in the library. And I figured the experience would be useful in any type of library work."

Randy Hensley, user-education librarian at Odegaard, said he spends about 45 percent of his time directing Bibliolab and related activities. In December 1982 he came to Washington from Cal State/Chico, where he'd worked nearly 10 years, mostly in BI.

Before Hensley arrived at Washington, Paula Walker, his predecessor, had been forced by budget cuts and a hiring freeze to remove staff librarians from BI. Concerned a program she had managed since 1979 might evaporate, she proposed, with Chisholm, that library students might serve as suitable instructors. …

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