Library Inductions…

Last Friday morning, my supervisor arranged for me to attend the ‘Induction Working Party’ held at the SSL. After a slightly nippy and overcast walk from the Bodleian we arrived for the meeting and were greeted by Alice and Susan staffing the desk! It was so interesting to step into a library which is feels very modern and therefore worlds away from my usual working surroundings in the Bodleian…

Because of timetabling constraints I could not be that involved in the induction process at the Bod, so I was really pleased to have the opportunity to attend a working party designed to evaluate induction policies and more specifically to evaluate this year’s induction. The committee has representatives from several OULS libraries, the Admissions office and College libraries.  I am particularly interested in user education and it is an area of library work I am hoping to get involved in through my trainee project.

One of the main difficulties of a Working Party of this kind is that it covers all libraries in Oxford; colleges, faculties, big libraries, small libraries, each serving a different number of students, with different sorts of needs and interests. Much of the meeting was therefore inevitably taken up discussing the remit of such a group. Although I was encouraged by the progress made and enjoyed the session, the meeting also highlighted how difficult it is to make university wide decisions even on what seem fairly small matters.

One thing I definitely took away from the session was the need to keep talking about induction policy and practice in order to try and appreciate the variety of libraries in Oxford. So… I would be interested to know how many of us were involved in inductions and if you were, was there anything you thought worked particularly well or other things which perhaps needed improving? Also,  we spent a lot of time discussing the undergraduate user education database- if any of you have nay thoughts about it then it would be great to hear them!

3 comments on “Library Inductions…

  1. I would also quite like to hear about people’s thoughts and experiences of library inductions.

    I think I just missed out on an induction for the Women’s Health collection; but will hopefully see the next one (it being an e-library, my supervisor does a powerpoint presentation with an audience of students) and then hopefully be involved in the induction after that. From what I can gather, there are a few inductions a year (when there is an intake of medical students who have decided to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology) which can occur at different points in the year.

  2. Sounds like an interesting meeting. I had a lot of involvement in law library inductions mainly because they were a big focus for all staff over postgrad week and 0th week, everyone here was involved in some way! I thought the law library approach was quite comprhensive and inductions were seen as being of great importance so I wrote a whole blog post about it

  3. Thank you for posting this, Amy! We don’t offer organised library inductions at the Oxford Union library. Prospective members are shown round as part of a whistle-stop tour of the Union in the first few weeks of term. After that, those who join are left to their own devices. The majority of our members are members of a couple of libraries, and are already familiar with SOLO/OLIS by then. Often, they just need pointing in the right direction for a particular classmark. However, I am concerned that there are some members slipping through the net – mainly visiting undergraduate students who are only registered at our library. We have lots of guides, and we’re always happy to help those who look lost and confused! I think our Facebook page could be used to help those who are too shy to ask for help…

    I think your point about the diversity of (indeed, the disparity in!) library remits in the University is spot-on. It can be tough to identify points of commonality when you work in a niche or hybrid library in an academic superstructure. But the various approaches and solutions individual libraries have to reach their readers could encourage all Oxford libraries to use a greater number and variety of promotional tools. So, it’d be great to hear other trainees’ experiences and thoughts on the matter!

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