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.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/marylou_baker_jones/5/