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Training Students to be the Face of the Library
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Training Students to be the Face of the Library: Adopting New Training Techniques for Evolving Roles 
Sponsor: University and College Division

Date: Tuesday, April 25
Time: 7:50-8:50 am
Location: Salon I

Session Description: 
As the roles of academic librarians and staff evolve to keep up with the 21st century library, student employee expectations and responsibilities are also expanding. To help students meet these new demands, student supervisors must reach out of their comfort zones and implement new training styles and techniques. This presentation will discuss how staff at two different academic libraries have risen to this challenge.

In an effort to alleviate patron anxiety and reduce librarians’ over-burdened workload, the Instructional Services Department at East Central University’s Linscheid Library recently implemented a new staffing model for the Reference Desk. This shift necessitated the creation of an innovative training program to prepare undergraduate student assistants for the sometimes arduous reference work. The Instructional Services Department believes that having student assistants working at our reference desk will encourage our more reticent patrons to reach out to us. In this presentation, we will discuss the challenges and successes that we experienced in training our students for reference service. There are unique challenges in training student assistants for reference work compared with training librarians or staff. Students have busy schedules that pull them in different directions, budgets for student assistants are limited, and training multiple students at the same time is a possibility. This presentation will address how we handled these challenges. We will also describe each step of the training process, from identifying training objectives, to designing lessons and activities, to the training experience itself, to ongoing performance evaluation. If you’ve considered reaching out to your campus community by training student assistants for reference service, then join us for this presentation and see if our experience can shed some light on your way forward.

The Edmon Low Library's Access Service department at Oklahoma State University has undergone a dramatic and rapid evolution. There have been increases in customer service responsibilities as well as the adoption of a tiered reference system. As student employees have taken on these challenges, they have become the de facto face of the library. At the same time, student employees in the library’s new Creative Studios have had to keep up with an ever-expanding collection of new and emerging technology, including 3-D printing, Go-Pros, audio recording equipment and even telescopes. In this session, three members of the Access Services Department will discuss the out-of-the-box training techniques that they have implemented to prepare student employees for their new responsibilities.

Shannon GardeShannon Garde is the technology specialist for Access Services at Edmon Low Library where she serves as the director of the Creative Studios, which in addition to housing the textbooks, course reserves, and microfilm, now provides patrons with a wide range of innovative services including 3D printing, audio recording studios, technology checkouts, and a green-screen recording and presentation studio.  Shannon often hosts educational workshops highlighting new technologies such as 3D printing & modeling.  She is also part of a team that arranges an ongoing monthly outreach and instructional event known as “Tech Tuesday at 2” which exhibits a different emerging technology each session.

Whitney VitaleWhitney Vitale is Assistant Professor and Assistant Head of Access Services at Oklahoma State University’s Edmon Low Library, where she directs the Library’s tiered-reference service. In addition, she assists in overseeing the Access Services department, which includes stack management, interlibrary services, circulation, the Edmon Low Creative Studios, and the Library’s off-site shelving facilities.  Prior to her work at OSU, she was the Associate Library Director at the Boston Architectural College Library in Boston, MA. She received a MLIS from Simmons College and has over a decade of experience in Library public and access services.

Chuck AustinCharles “Chuck” Austin has spent 15 years managing operations in factory, retail, technical-support and market research call-centers, with a focus on leadership training and supervisor development. He brought his management and training experience to Oklahoma State University’s Edmon Low Library as the Night Manager and, after setting up a successful operational framework, has settled in as Stacks Manager. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and reads voraciously.

Calantha TillotsonCalantha Tillotson is the Instructional Services Librarian at East Central University’s Linscheid Library. In that capacity, she oversees the Reference Desk, as well as library instruction and assessment. In addition, she is honored to serve as the library liaison to the School of Business, English & Languages Department, and Human Resources Department. Before coming to East Central University, she worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma’s Bizzell Library while attending OU’s School of Library and Information Studies.

Natalie MahanNatalie Mahan
is an Undergraduate Learning Specialist at the University of Kansas Libraries where she provides library instruction and develops online learning modules. Prior to her work at KU, she was the Instructional Services Assistant at East Central University’s Linscheid Library. She is working toward a MLIS from University of Oklahoma.

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