Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An offer that helped a student

At the recent SLA conference, I attended a continuing ed session by Mary
Ellen Bates on "what to do after you log off," which discussed ways that librarians/information
professionals can demonstrate their value, or offer addition help, after the initial inquiry is completed. Tonight on the desk a student asked for help in locating Milton's Paradise Lost, so I showed her how to locate the book in CUNY+. Then I asked, " will you need some information to help understand it," and she said "yes." So I showed her how to search Literature Resource Center and JSTOR. (She said aftewards she had only used our databases a little and not for literature articles.)
She said she appreciated the extra help. I realize that I should have framed my inquiry better like, "Would you like me to show you some library resources that help explain Milton's writings? "

1 comment:

Stephen Francoeur said...

Nice job with the reference interaction! FYI, Literature Resource Center was a great place to send the student and is probably the best place to start, but I'd hold off on recommending JSTOR for literary criticism. If a student wants criticism or work overviews or something to give them a leg up on a difficult text, I'd suggest the following resources in this order:

(1) Literature Resource Center
(2) Literature Criticism Online
(3) CUNY+ search (author name AND criticism)
(4) Gale Virtual Reference Library
(5) MLA International Bibliography

Most of what our undergraduates might need that is in JSTOR will be adequately indexed in MLA. The older articles in JSTOR that aren't indexed in MLA are probably beyond the needs of our undergraduate students.