R.I.P. Print?

Posted by & filed under Destinations, Library, TED, Uncategorized, Video.

Is print dead? Print is not dead.  Rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.  The economics of the publishing industry, which of course includes e-publishing, is one of the reasons print will be with us for a long time to come.  If you’d like to listen to a discussion of this issue, NPR aired a discussion on “The Diane Rehm Show”  today, June 5th. Also, by late summer Valencia students will be able to easily request to borrow books from the twelve state   universities in Florida.



There’s also a movement afoot that seems reminiscent of the ‘slow food’ movement where some authors and consumers may prefer the option of print.  What matters most to our students is the assignment that their professor has placed before them. That’s where my work comes in to play.  Each week I teach students how to be successful in their research. Often these students are required to consult print resources in addition to online information.   What I have created below is a class session that is designed to spark student interest and engage them in the process of researching print materials. Components of this session can be woven in to classes that are not solely focusing on print.

One thing I know  for sure, every librarian has heard, and hates to hear a student say, “I already wrote my paper but I just need to document a print source.”  Perhaps engaging them differently will help them see a value to this format of information. New formats will surely be introduced in their lifetime.


Gathering activity:   As students enter the classroom they are handed an index card folded in half. On the left side they are asked to guess how many books are published each year.  On the right, how many books are held in the Valencia libraries. (with a hint that there are five libraries)   Meanwhile the TED video “How books can open your mind”  plays.  Time: 6:16

Once the class has gathered  the classroom instructor takes care of attendance, announcements, etc.  and turns the class over  to me.  I’ll begin by asking if there are any lingering questions from the last session when they worked in the library databases.

After clearing up any student questions, observations  or discussion items I’ll ask them to look at their answer (or guesses) to my two questions.  I’ll connect to a website and discuss the responses. It is a real-time ticker of books being published and then I’ll back up to the main page where they can also see how many google searches have been run today, tweets sent, etc.  We’ll discuss the rapid pace and amount of information created, delivered and consumed every single day!  I’ll transition the discussion to address the document essay assignment before them and the size of Valencia’s holdings.


Activity:  Ask students to flip their index card over and explain they have 30 seconds to write down three keywords or phrases that they found helpful when searching the databases last class session.  They can talk to each other about this if they choose.   As a group we’ll  search the library catalog and examine a full record for a print book. We will review the parts of the record that they will need for properly documenting  the source but we will focus on the availabiltiy of the item, the subject heading and call numbers.  (Subject headings may help them focus or expand their search results). Call numbers are the key to getting their hands on the material and they also need to know that there is a purpose to browsing the shelves once you find the item they’ve located in the catalog.

Activity:  Call number group activity.  Each person will get a color-coded card with part of a call number on it. They will need to move around the room to gather with other students with the same color card, and then assemble themselves in the order of the call number.  Then as a group we will identify the location and order of the items in the library.  (8 -10  minutes, maximum)

Alternate activity:  A “Who Am I” type of activity with the genres of books and parts of a book. Students will have to guess what they are.   This could take longer and I don’t want the activity to take time away from their searching for materials they will actually use in their essay.

Students will then return to their workstation and we will briefly discuss that research takes time and they will not find a book titled “The Perfect Book for Your Paper on the Legalization of Marijuana.” I will use an infographic of how to focus and avoid distraction and point out that taking a technology break can be beneficial.  I’ll ask them to point out other relevant images on the screen.

Following this they will search individually at their workstatin and I will move around the room and help them individually. Student may leave the room to retrieve materials for use in the classroom. I will probably also replay the TED video for those who didn’t see it from the start.

Exit ticket:  A book they are checking out of the library.

OR    If they have a book in their personal collection they plan to use they must find the record on amazon.com and show me a screenshot on their mobile device.

OR   if they have requested a book from another library through Interlibrary Loan they have to show me a pic or screenshot of the item they have requested.

Additional exit ticket: Especially the first few times I try these ideas I’d like to ask the students for feedback by listing two things they learned today and identifying any muddy  points that are still unclear.



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