Nancy Bellafante, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning, traveled to Seattle, Washington this past July to attend an intensive, weeklong program for instructional librarians. Bellafante was selected to participate in the distinguished Information Literacy Immersion Program sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries.
In the year and a half since she joined the Libraries’ staff, Nancy Bellafante has been busy. As the Libraries first librarian dedicated specifically to undergraduate learning, she is tasked with developing programs to strengthen information literacy skills in undergraduates while promoting lifelong learning. Already, she has developed numerous new initiatives to promote the Libraries services and programs.
Over 3,000 students attended the Libraries’ instructional sessions for freshman students enrolled in English 101 classes over the past several weeks. In total, 160 sessions were held and students were taught fundamental research skills and to effectively use library resources to locate scholarly information.
The sessions provided a brief introduction to the characteristics of databases and database search techniques. This was followed by students working independently to conduct research for their projects as library instructors offered individual guidance.
A growing percentage of entering students come to Drexel from beyond US borders. To improve staff interactions with international students, the Libraries held a staff development workshop to raise awareness of cross-cultural communications and begin to develop concrete skills in communicating more effectively with speakers having low English language skills.
Barbara Hoekje, Associate Professor of Communication and Robert Walters, Coordinator Student Support, English Language Center, developed and conducted an excellent session for the Libraries staff. They began with describing the incoming international students' population at Drexel. An experiential exercise simulated some aspects of a cross-cultural exchange experience and then drew practical applications to library settings. Collectively, workshop participants identified issues and solved problems relating to international student use of the library and their relation to library policies and procedures.
The Drexel Libraries is in its third year of offering the Personal Librarian Program. The program is off to a successful start this quarter. Each freshman is assigned a library staff member who serves as the student's primary contact for the library during the first year. Students may call, email, or meet with their personal librarian for assistance in getting started with research and using library services and resources.
During New Student Days, each freshman received an introductory letter from his or her personal librarian. The Libraries also sponsored a jumbled word scavenger hunt, providing students an opportunity to become familiar with the library and to meet the personal librarians who helped staff the event.
Contributing Author: Jaya Mohan, Assistant Director of the Office for Undergraduate Research.
Over the summer, sixty rising sophomores in the STAR Scholars Program participated in a four-week instructional series led by Nancy Bellafante, Librarian for Undergraduate Learning.
The STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholars Program provides an opportunity for high-achieving first-year students to participate in faculty-mentored research, scholarship, or creative work. For many of them, the experience is their first introduction to research, and the Libraries offered them instruction on research skills. The program partnership was a success, and we plan to offer the series to more STAR Scholars in the future.
New Student Orientation consists of a packed two-day schedule for incoming freshmen to learn more about becoming Drexel students. The Libraries participate annually in orientation sessions, providing information about library services, resources and staff.
For summer 2012 sessions, a memorable and interactive presentation aims to leave students with a positive impression of the Libraries and library staff. Prepared by Librarian for Undergraduate Learning Nancy Bellafante, the presentation is designed with the understanding that students will likely not retain all of the information they hear. So, her presentation focuses on getting students to understand that the Libraries provides many important services and resources that will help them to succeed.