Competency I - Statement and Evidence

  Portfolio of Cathleen Elizabeth Ash

use service concepts, principles and techniques that facilitate information access, relevance, and accuracy for individuals or groups of users;

Service is all about value: what can be used or structured to provide the best bang-for-the-buck for your clientelle. If offering longer open hours are considered, will enough people utilize the additional hours to ensure the additional costs are warranted? If the patrons need more access to online resources, what technology will be most cost-efficient? If a number of the people are having difficulty locating the same specific resources over and over, would a simple bookmark or business-card with website listings suffice to facilitate their ability to access the information? Any and all of these types of questions are constants in the library. Users' needs change, information-presentation methods change, and the only constant throughout is the attempt to balance what is offered with what the library can afford to offer - keeping in mind what the clientelle needs most.

This is a daily task, and reviewed at least on a weekly basis at my high school library. Teachers' lesson plans change suddenly or a new lesson pops up and we strive to meet the needs of the students as they search for resources under the new topics. A number of large research projects (Benchmarks) stay the same from year to year, and we have best been able to provide services related to these.

Benchmark Training takes place in the library and is mandatory for all of the 9th and 12th grade students. The 9th and 12th grade teachers bring their classes to the library for at least one period of information literacy training focused on the Benchmark. At the 10th grade level, participation in the Benchmark training is on a voluntary basis, but this year saw all but one of the 10th grade teachers in attendance. This service, and the knowledge students gain about research strategies and information-seeking, has served the school population well. In an effort to continue support during "non-training" weeks, students can attend tutorial in the library on Wednesdays and Thursdays for further research and information training on a more one-on-one basis.

The freshman Benchmark training includes the ALA-supported RADCAB which teaches assessment of information based on six categories. This encourages the students to check for accuracy, relevancy, currency and more as they locate information resources. In addition, time is spent teaching searching strategies, from using Index, table of contents and textual clues in a print resource, to Boolean search methods and site-type delimiter queries (e.g.:  site:org to find only non-profit websites).

Facilitating information access also means having it available - whether this refers to the hours the library is available for use, or the working technology it uses to access digital information. In the last three years, both of these items have grown exponentially for our students. We now open a half hour earlier in the morning for students seeking to complete homework assignments or upload their work online. In addition, through marketing, donations, and expenditures of flood insurance monies, we have ensured that at least 14 working computers are available at all times in the library (up from 12 - of which about 40% worked at any given time). The district network support staff was strategic in enabling this result.

List of Evidence for Competency I:

QUEST Training   A group of files (mostly Word and Flash) used to teach Senior students research strategies - an important component of library services at our school.
Freshman Orientation A copy of the RADCAB packet presented to teachers/students while reviewing research strategies.
Booktalks Booktalks presented to classes (both struggling readers and honors-level readers) to engage students with literature and encourage a love of reading. (Note: some of these are flash *.swf files and sound is needed).
Computer Donations Pictures showing improvement of the library via donated resources (marketing and community service).
Strategic Plan,
This strategic plan focuses on providing new services to students.
Outline Tutorial A technique to facilitate information access, visuals are becoming more and more strategic in successful lessons. This visual assisted students in understanding opinion, support, and the five paragraph essay.