Even 12 years later, I still remember the anxiety I felt walking into my college library or finding sources for my research projects. As a graduate of a pretty good, but very rural, high school I hadn’t had that much exposure to electronic databases or overwhelmingly large library collections. And Inter-Library loan? Forget about it. Despite my slightly better than average grades, I don’t think I got over this anxiety until Junior year when I had a wonderfully helpful professor who made us all go to a one-shot instruction class. Twice actually.
As a MLIS and an EasyBib librarian, I now read study after study about students who feel the same anxiety that I did. But many of them are even worse off than I was. I graduated high school before standardized testing cut into time for self-guided learning. I also went to college before everyone was constantly inundated with online content, user-generated or otherwise, through social media, and our constant dependence and connection to our devices. My flip-phone also had better reception and a longer battery life. 🙂
But how can we as librarians and information professionals help students overcome their academic research anxiety? First-year experience programs are popping up all over the place. Librarians are developing comic books and scavenger hunts. The ACRL now has a first-year experience list-serv full of strategies for acclimating college freshman to academic research.
But it also helps if both academic librarians and high school one thing we can do is be aware of and sensitive to the problems students face and recognize the support that graduating high school seniors and first-year college students will need.
My colleague Emily and I will be talking about the transition years for students and their information literacy skills via webinar on Tuesday, April 2nd at 3pm EST and on Wednesday, April 3rd at 12pm EST. You can register for those webinars below. If you’re reading this after the fact, we’d be happy to provide you with a recording.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm – Register
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm – Register
Thanks, and happy researching!