Workshop Outline: Facilitator’s Notes

Facilitators Notes:

    • Bring notecards, pens, whiteboard markers, colored markers, flip chart, scratch paper.
    • Remember: work to dismantle the expert/novice divide. Remember local/indigenous knowledges, that everyone brings experience and expertise to the table in different ways.
    • We learn through experience! Through problem-posing! Through group support!


1. Introduction: Free Write and Share (5-10 minutes) (allow for late start as needed)

Welcome! Share names and a quick sentence on what brought you here today. (5 minutes)

Take notes on reasons why people came today! Will come up later in discussion and practice, and will help direct the “instruction” portion of the workshop.

Provide notecards/paper and pens. Library may also require a sign-in sheet.

Free write (5 minutes): take a little time to think about these questions and write down some thoughts. There are no “wrong” answers – you all have life experience and knowledge to share. We will spend the next 20 minutes sharing and discussing our ideas, so please don’t feel pressured to get down “everything” – just a starting point, or some notes to help you remember what you were thinking.

Questions: How do you currently search for and find trustworthy information? Where do you go? What do you do? How do you know what you find is “reliable” or “useful?”

2. Brainstorm/Discussion: Concept Map (20 minutes)

Begin with sharing some initial thoughts from the free-write. What experiences are shared? Are there larger issues going on?

Continue discussion with the following activity.

Make notes of all the techniques and strategies people are already using to search for, locate, and evaluate information.

As a group, concept-map (or take notes) onto flip chart/white board/projector screen, etc. following questions:

    • Who uses the library’s electronic resources? Why or why not?
    • Does anyone ever feel anxious asking librarians for help?
    • [Introduce concept of “library anxiety”] What do you think about this idea? Do you think it is true? Completely false? Not complex enough?
    • How would you describe the library’s electronic resources? How are they presented? How are they perceived?
    • How do we currently search for, locate, and evaluate information [refer to free-write]? How could those skills we already possess be useful in a new resource, like Consumer Reports online?

For facilitator: Library anxiety: widely used in LIS academic research, to describe the phenomena of students feeling that “everyone else knows how to use the library better than me” and that asking for help indicates weakness and a lack of expected “base knowledge.” Can also apply to the intimidating physical space of the library, including entryways, the behemoth reference desk, lack of signage, the library atmosphere, foreign cataloguing systems, a perception of special “library language” needed to communicate with reference staff, and an abundance of new complex technology, including computer labs, self-checkout kiosks, OPAC computer terminals, etc.

Originally referenced in (at least):

Bostick, S. L. (1992). The development and validation of the Library Anxiety Scale. Doctoral dissertation, Wayne State University.

Mellon, C. A. (1986). Library anxiety: A grounded theory and its development. College & Research Libraries, 47(2), 160-165.

Continually in: reference and instruction literature in academic librarianship, as recently as 2012.

    • Make notes on flip-chart/whiteboard, etc. and changes to concept map as needed.
    • Allow/encourage participants who do not feel verbally confident to contribute to discussion via markers and drawing on the board themselves, writing on notecards and passing them forward, etc.
    • Dont push the discussion! Really get participants to lead the answers. Dont feed them the right answers – were talking about their expertise and knowledge, not yours! THEY have the right answers!

3. Break: (5-10 minutes) OPTIONAL

Allows for bathroom break, movement, extended discussion, library tour, or movement from a meeting room to a computer lab as needed.

4. Technology Practice: (45-50 minutes)

    • Teaching skills which align with the information-seeking processes already in place!
    • PASS OUT HANDOUTS! [Example handouts: outline with guided note-taking space, sample searches compared with Google results, additional resources for follow-up and more exploration]

Guided practice or lecture (30 minutes)

Tailor examples to the previous discussion. Make sure the skills and discussion you have relate to previously-identified info-seeking behaviors and motivations for coming. Anchor “lecture” in participant experiences and indigenous knowledge. See Workshop Justification for more details.

    • Introduction to the Library Homepage (5 minutes)
      • Overview of links, tabs, pages.
      • Encourage exploration later, and point out help desks, tech volunteers.
    • Getting to Consumer Reports (5 minutes)
      • From a networked library computer
      • From any other computer, as a “remote user”
    • Consumer Reports home page (10 minutes)
      • Ratings/reviews – by category, by search term, A-Z list
      • Recalls/safety – from home page
      • Site Features – categories of other resources
    • Issue: Site updates/changes! What is the use of learning something, if it will change?
      • What could we do now to prepare for this? What skills would this take?
      • What are the social implications of design changes? In other mediums?
    • Comparing to Google (10 minutes)
      • Sample item search: in Consumer Reports.
      • Search Google – use patron feedback to direct search terms.
      • Example – Kenmore Elite dishwasher reviews? On store websites? On Amazon? Can you trust “customer reviews?” Why/why not?
      • Review sites – who is writing these reviews? Could you easily post a “fake” review here?
      • When would Google be more helpful than Consumer Reports? Should we accept CR‘s reviews as well?

Practice (30 minutes)

Allow patrons to help each other, and encourage collaboration as well as providing individualized question/answer and support. Use this time for anchoring the skills in activities directly useful to participants, even if the activities are not directly related with Consumer Reports. For example: are patrons interested in comparing other subscription-based materials to Google? Are they interested in comparing Consumer Reports listings to Craigslist? Be open and flexible in translating skills learned or concepts explored to activities which will boost learner engagement and collateral building of confidence with technology.

Remind patrons you are here to help, others may be helpful resources, librarians, volunteers, etc. are available during open hours, LibGuides and other tools, to help reduce anxiety on doing skills independently later.

5. Wrap-Up: Discuss, survey, and thank-you’s (5-10 minutes)

    • Remind participants what we covered today – opportunity for patron discussion to share what they practiced. Did they discover things which were particularly useful which were not covered as a group? Things which differed from the group content? New ways of searching they hadn’t previously explored? Experiences they found they shared today which helped them see technology or the library in a new light? Directions they will now go? Opportunities for more workshops or other programs or groups?
    • Remind them to share with their friends and family, other patrons, etc. They are experts in their experiences, and also better teachers of peers than “experts” who do not understand where they are coming from. Also the best way to learn something is to teach it!
    • Remind them to take extra handouts, tell library staff they loved the program and want it to happen more (or not), be safe getting home, feel free to contact facilitators, etc.

Optional Assessment Tool:

    • Beg them to complete a quick survey telling staff:
      • One thing they took from today that will help them be more confident searchers for information.
      • One thing they feel could have been done differently to help make them more confident searchers for information.
      • What programs they feel are needed (this one given again, this as part of a series, etc.)

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