WILU rocked my world!

Photograph by Sheila Steele via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s always so wonderful to be around librarians who are open to new ideas and support each other in their research and teaching practices!  More importantly, it’s always a pleasure to visit new landscapes and experience local culture!  I’ve been lucky enough to do both at WILU 2011 in Regina, Saskatchewan!  Although I was nervous to present on Friday on blended learning environments, I was excited to meet new people and hear what other librarians were doing in their classrooms.

The opening speaker for The Big Learn: Smart Ways to Use Your Brain had oodles of pizzazz, not sure how to define that, but he was most definitely humorous and engaging.  The one thing I remembered from the session?  It’s easier to remember 7 or fewer things.  One of the interesting things he discussed was the way we read and retain information and he talked about how to break down or summarize a book chapter effectively and it really did read like a resume, simple, to the point and only vital information is provided.

One of the posters I really enjoyed was entitled Learning Citation Format Like It Matters, a lot of ideas for creating citation activities were explained in detail,here are some examples that stood out for me:

  • Citation Scramble: Have parts of a citation mixed and ask students to re-assemble – click here for an example
  • Works Cited Page: Ask questions about a topic of a paper and provide students with a works cited page.  Ask them to find the appropriate paper for that topic.
  • Identifying Parts: Provide a citation and ask students to identify the different parts of the citation (ex. author, editor and etc.)

I attended a few Thursday sessions, the first one being Build it, Share it, Borrow it.  Initially, I thought that the session was about creating tutorials but I really liked the direction the presenters took with the topic. Ultimately, I think sharing our work by placing it in the department repository or intranet can be very beneficial to librarians building tutorials on their own.  The presenters asked, why is sharing so hard to do?  They studied what kind of barriers such as rules, lack of role definition and technology were impeding on a culture of sharing in librarianship.

I also attended Library Instruction: Success in an Age of Academic Accountability, it was nice to review how UUDLEs (University Undergraduate Degree Level Expectations) really outlines a role for librarians.  It was also great to hear that other librarians were utilizing Camtasia to create screencasts for tutorials and the success of using screencasting.

The session, Who’s Learning, was an interesting look at how an American university library was dealing without a reference desk.  The business librarian and the liberal arts librarian presented on what their individual stats were like as well as referral stats.  In an interesting and active move, the business librarian literally had reference desk hours in the hallway of the business building!  Although she indicated that numbers weren’t as high, she had plans to make herself more visible.

On Friday (I could barely get through the day, I was so nervous!), I attended a session about a longitudinal study on the transition period from high school and first year university and the information literacy skills students take with them.  I had done a literature review recently for on of my Master of Education courses on the information literacy skills of incoming first year students and found that often in the studies, the students are ill-prepared in high school and unaware of resources available to them when they arrive first year.  One of the interesting techniques they used for their study was the use of the Photovoice methodology where they had students take photos of where they started their research and their experiences with research.  Some of the photos shown during the session showed a student throwing her arms up in the air in the library stacks confused and a photo of Google.  I’ll be interested to see their final findings when the study is completed.

WILU 2011 was amazing!  Great dine around choices, before I left, I went to my second choice.  I would reccomend The Willow for fine dining, Bushwakker for beer and pub fare and Beer Brothers for their beet ketchup and fries!  I would have to say, I gained a good four pounds after I left Regina.  I was treated to a great opening reception with delectable finger foods and a hearty breakfast!  Not only was the food good, but the people were friendly!  WILU 2012 will be held in Edmonton next year so we’ll see where I am then, hopefully, I’ll be able to check Alberta off my list of provinces to visit!