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Service Learning Librarian Spring Semester 2013

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The bad news is that I had to cancel this semester's service-learning information literacy course due to low enrollment. I attribute it to a couple different factors:  miscommunication with the registrar (our course wasn't titled or labeled properly as service-learning) and a very awkward time in our transition to semesters at my institution during which some students are "caught in the middle."  I hope for better enrollment next spring when I teach the course again. I am, however, co-teaching UH2020: Ethics of sustainability in Appalachia.  This is the course for which I became embedded librarian last winter quarter.  We go on a service trip to Southeast Ohio at the end of the semester.  And this will provide me with some service-learning fodder for this semester.  Due to some job responsibility changes for one of the faculty co-teachers, I was asked to step in to lecture on literacy issues and digital divide issues in Appalachia, in addition to my "embedded librarian" responsibilities.  Yesterday, I gave my very first lecture ever that didn't include the usual dog and pony show of how to use library resources.  There's room for improvement, certainly.  But I survived, and I don't think anyone fell asleep!  We talked about literacy and I posed the following questions for students to consider: How does this happen?  How do some people never make it beyond the most basic literacy skills? So what if your neighbor three blocks away functions at a low literacy level?  How does this affect you?  or your community? Who's responsibility is it to change these trends? The students participated fairly well, considering they had a somewhat shaky discussion leader without much experience with this particular topic.