By Katelyn Angell, Zena George, and Raymond Pun
2017 saw a growing interest on the part of librarians in fake news, open educational resources (OER), diversity, and accessibility. What will this year bring? Three academic librarians offered up the following conversation to explore potential FYE trends for 2018 and beyond.
What is one FYE trend that should continue to expand in 2018?
Raymond: Service learning programs. Some schools have integrated service learning or community service activities in the FYE program to foster greater connections to the off-campus community, and for students to develop a greater sense of campus involvement. Academic librarians have designed opportunities for students through partnerships where students teach digital literacy skills in public libraries or serve as mentors to K-12 students.
Katelyn: I predict that more academic librarians will train student workers to assist them with information literacy instruction, both in the classroom and at the reference desk. Research has suggested that students enjoy and benefit from learning from their peers, and many librarians would appreciate the classroom teaching assistance. Teresa Williams and Amanda Starkel will present on this topic at the Personal Librarian and First Year Experience Library Conference in March, and I believe their findings will be inspiring and helpful to instruction librarians across the board.
Zena: I hope bringing new technology into the library will continue as an ongoing trend at Berkeley College. Last year, we added VR Google Cardboards to our circulation collection, allowing our new students to turn their smartphones into 360-degree cameras and participate in virtual tours around the world.
Can you give a prediction of an emerging trend in academic librarianship for 2018?
Katelyn: Academic libraries at medium and large colleges and universities will begin experimenting with support for second year students. Many US institutions (including Duke University, Becker College, and Bard College) now offer Sophomore Year Experience programs in addition to the FYE. There are generally fewer support systems in place, yet most students declare their major during their second year. It could certainly benefit sophomores to have a librarian devoted to their teaching and learning needs.
Zena: Exploring new or alternative library service platforms will allow us to stay current on the rapid, changing needs of our students. If they have not already, academic libraries should pay close attention to new technologies that will serve as long-term, valuable skills to their students, particularly those with learning and physical disabilities. Some library trending technologies for 2018 are Augmented Reality, Bots, Artificial Intelligence, Print-On-Demand, and Drones.
Raymond: There will be greater support for transfer students in major universities. It’s becoming very expensive for students to go to one of these institutions directly when they can enter community college first and then transfer. These students are typically more motivated to graduate on time, however universities often do not have the same resources supporting transfers that they offer to first year students. Academic libraries are well positioned to ease these students’ transition and outfit them with the tools they need for academic success.
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Zena: In October 2017, I presented with a colleague on the topic of “The Step-Size Approach” – a technique used to enhance student learning through the breakdown of learning concepts into smaller quantities to avoid information overload. The Step-Size Approach offers the librarian the ability to facilitate integration of the 6 ACRL Frameworks into classroom lessons and assignments. For 2018, I hope to revisit this topic and review additional platforms that will not only help students with their library research and learning needs, but provide them with unique skills they can take into the job market after graduation.
Katelyn: I am looking forward to finding a home for an article in which I surveyed nearly 40 FYE Librarians on their primary job responsibilities, biggest successes and challenges, and vital intercampus partnerships. I aim to have this article published in a library and information science journal in 2018, and hope that it will be useful to academic librarians and campus partners alike.
Raymond: I am looking forward to launching the library’s first undergraduate research paper prize contest. Working with an English professor at Fresno State, we are designing rubrics to evaluate and recognize outstanding student research papers! We are emphasizing that submitted papers should focus on topics pertinent to our school, such as social justice, diversity, or water sustainability. All submitted papers will also be considered for inclusion in an online open access journal hosted by the library’s digital repository.
Katelyn (Kate) Angell is Assistant Professor/First Year Success Librarian at LIU Brooklyn in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a BA from Wesleyan University, an MLIS from St. John's University, and an MA in Psychology from LIU Brooklyn. Her research interests include information literacy instruction and assessment, intersections between psychology and literature, and the organization of information.
Zena George is the Library Director for Berkeley College Library in the downtown Brooklyn, New York area. Prior to this position, Zena began her professional career with The New York Public Library and ended her thirteen years of public library service in early January 2015. She is also a contributor to the book: Career Transitions for Librarians; Proven Strategies to Move to Another Type of Library. She is currently considering writing a fiction novel along with the pursuit of a doctoral program in Library and Information Science.