The Instruction and Outreach Department manages and coordinates library research instruction for students, faculty and staff through course-related workshops, outreach activities, personal consultations, research guides and other instructional materials.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Going Global... right here in North Carolina

This week marks the three-week anniversary of my field experience in the Instruction & Outreach Department at Duke’s Perkins Library. Besides all the usual getting-started stuff, both the exciting and the mundane (being warmly welcomed by Emily and Diane, taking a brief tour of the library, gawking amazedly at The Link, setting up Outlook, getting an ID, forgetting said ID and waiting outside the staff door for some kind soul to let me in), I’ve also had a chance to begin working on several projects that all roughly fall into the category of “Going Global.” Yes, “going global” is a hackneyed slogan, no doubt, but it’s actually a surprisingly accurate theme to describe the disparate projects I’ve begun as a part-time member of the I & O team.

Back in March, when I saw Diane’s posted request for a student to assist with the Library’s Global Health duties, I’ll admit that although I wasn’t absolutely sure about what that meant, I did know I was interested. In just three shorts weeks it’s become clear just how expansive Diane’s role as both Head of Instruction & Outreach as well as the Librarian for Global Health is. For me, as a second-year library-school student, it is invaluable to be able to see, experience, and understand not only her overarching roles but also the department’s day-to-day responsibilities. I mean, it’s only been three weeks and I’m already getting into the thick of it!

Having a snappy concept to encapsulate my main projects keeps me focused on why I’m here at Perkins. (The bus ride over from UNC is a welcome respite from the busy week, but I’m here for more than that!) “Going Global” is a way for me to think about how Duke Libraries fits into the University’s mission (in general) and into the global health and global education at Duke (in particular). Going Global also reminds me that it’s not only Duke students, faculty, and scholars going abroad through study abroad, Duke Engage, or fieldwork at Duke Global Health Institute -- students, faculty, and scholars are coming to the Triangle Area in droves every year, the issues and challenges abroad are felt right here in North Carolina, and information is being transmitted internationally every minute of every day.

.... Interesting to think about, sure, but what have I actually been doing here?

My first week here I started working on revamping the Global Health LibGuide, an entryway for users to find resources to do research, read current news, find relevant data and stats, and get assistance in the area of global health. It’s still a work in progress, but definitely worth checking out. Compiling resources for that LibGuide gave me a chance to practice using the Springshare software (with which I was already familiar), and, more significantly, get familiar with the global health resources and tools that are essential to the field. I visited several other research libraries’ websites to get a sense of what other librarians find important. Feeling connected to what other global health practitioners and researchers are using is something I hope to learn over the course of the semester. For me, actually going through the databases and webpages and actually making a usable subject guide is a more effective (and more fun!) way to learn than to sit in a library school class and try to memorize lists of resources. Thank god for field experiences!

Another (mini-) project I’m starting this week is updating the library page for students studying abroad through the Office of Global Education or Duke Engage. This page will offer students studying or researching abroad links to local libraries and information resources in their area. “Find a library near you!” helps students understand that when they are overseas, they not only have access to Duke Libraries remotely, but they may also be able to use on-the-ground resources available in the country where they are staying. Connecting Duke students to local libraries may seem like small potatoes, but it is critical to the Going Global theme: Duke students are still Duke students when they’re abroad, but they’re also global actors, international visitors, local participants. Stay tuned for updates to the “Find a library near you!” page....

C'mon back on Friday, when I'll be writing a bit about some other Going Global projects we're working on in Instruction & Outreach!

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