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Reeling Them In: On-site Practicum Experiences for Library / Information Science Students in Distance Learning Programs
University Libraries' Staff Publications
  • Charlotte M. Droll
  • Mary Lou Baker Jones, Wright State University - Main Campus
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Librarians at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio - two hundred miles from the state's only ALA-accredited Library and Information Science school at Kent State University - want to become actively engaged in promoting academic librarianship but have few local opportunities to do so. Dayton-area distance-learning students in the Kent State University program need practical experiences in academic libraries. The students' need for mentoring and hands-on experience and the librarians' desire to support their profession create the perfect environment for the establishment of a WSU Libraries' practicum program. How It All Comes Together: The KSU SLIS program encourages a practicum experience by making it an attractive capstone option The WSU University Libraries on-site supervisors canvas the Reference, Instruction and Collection Development staffs each term to identify activities that can be offered to practicum students and that will also benefit those departments. In the interview process and during the first weeks of the practicum, the practicum student and on-site supervisors construct an experience that is responsive to the needs of both the student and the librarians who are sponsoring each activity. Benefits for WSU University Libraries: Practicum students do some of our work: provide reference service via Information Desk and IM; work on collection management projects such as collection evaluation and weeding; assist with and even teach research classes. Librarians acquire supervisory experience and a fresh perspective. Librarians use the opportunity to influence, promote, and serve the profession. Benefits for the profession: Librarianship is marketed to the WSU student population. Practicum students enter the workforce better prepared. Benefits for the practicum students: LIS students get one-on-one attention that may be lacking in their distance-learning experience. LIS students have excellent and challenging opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge. Challenges for the WSU University Libraries: Training the students. Finding time to mentor / supervise. Collaborating with the students' advisors from a distance: this is an aspect of the practicum experience that the on-site supervisors expect to focus on this year.

This poster was presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on March 30, 2007.

Citation Information
Charlotte M. Droll and Mary Lou Baker Jones. "Reeling Them In: On-site Practicum Experiences for Library / Information Science Students in Distance Learning Programs" (2007)
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