I had been warned. The beginning of the academic year separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to survival as a subject librarian. Did I listen? Absolutely not. That should explain why it has been 2months since my last blog post. Since the beginning of term, not only have I participated in induction sessions for over 500 students, I’ve been inundated with requests for one-to-one sessions with dissertation students struggling to get their heads around the seemingly daunting process of finding resources for their topics.
To say the least, my brain has been in overdrive. Before I continue, I should make it clear that I am not complaining- I love what I do and feel privileged to be part of so many students’ academic journeys. Now that that’s out of the way- I am EXHAUSTED! Not only do I have to go into each session- often back-to-back with a blank brain slate in order to help the student work on developing the most effective and appropriate search strategy for their dissertation, I can’t help think about the teaching process I’m immersing myself in each time I sit down in our little library pod with my students. It’s an understatement to say that the students have diverse needs- which is a great exercise, often, in experimenting with teaching approaches. Sometimes the students are clicking on links and typing in search terms before I can even make a suggestion. Other times, it’s all I can do put take their hands and physically put them on the computer mouse to get them to engage with me. Everyone learns differently though, so I just remind myself that each student is a new opportunity for putting practice into action and being given an opportunity for reflection.
I look forward to what the new academic year has in store for me, as I’ll be holding sessions with students new to university, those who are more comfortable now in their second year, and those who can’t wait to finish their work and graduate. It’s an exciting time and I am definitely along for the ride.
I think my greatest challenge will be to keep myself organised with doing the work I am meant to do with students- one-to-one and group sessions, and completing my work that is, largely, under the radar- such as the assignment planning toolkit, information literacy and all of the other odd jobs related to this profession. All I can hope for is an extra hour every day to pull all the loose ends together!