Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A 21st century guide to teaching freshmen college students to check out books from the library

I realized that my students were so comfy looking up articles in EBSCO from computer labs and their dorm rooms and didn't know how to actually check out books from the library. So I asked them to meet me, class by class at our wonderful college library. They were visibly scared:). I made this handout because I knew they had no idea how to find actual BOOKS in the library. I also have a high capacity for cracking myself up, so that explains some of the handout too. If others can use this, just adapt it to your own school. It worked pretty well with some coaching and encouragement, and some of my students, who are now 7 months into their college education, have just checked out books for the first time!

Dr. Cynthia Mahaffey
Bowling Green State University
ENG112 Actual Library Visit

Finding books on your topic for Multiple Source Essay #2 (Paper #3)

Today, we’re visiting our great library, Jerome Library. Your mission is to find at least two BOOKS on your topic. Use this paper to write down items as you go.

First, think about the social issue you want to tackle for this paper. Remember, the format is just like Multiple Source Essay #1, but you are picking the topic. So let’s start there, with a research question which you will make into an argument thesis:
How does______________affect____________in_______________?
(variable) (variable) (population)

Variables could be issues like: poverty, depression, heterosexuality, schooling, school funding, racial discrimination, profiling, sexual orientation, economic status (i.e. class), age, education, clean water, environmental pollution, foreign plant or animal species invasion, recreational camping, sport fishing, nutrition, prenatal care…. If you have a possibility, ask me.

[You may not choose the following topics as your old professor can’t bear it: abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, legalization of marijuana, God, the paranormal, the drinking age]
Population is the group of people on whom you will be focusing: preschool children, grade school children, high school aged persons, young adults, college students, the elderly, men, women, girls, boys, babies, middle-aged persons (like your professor), African Americans, LGBT persons, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, rural whites….

Once you’ve thought about a preliminary topic (you don’t have to make a final decision today, but I don’t want you to change your topic without checking with me), look for several books on your topic. To do that:

1. Go to, then “libraries.”
2. On left hand side, click on “BGSU Library Catalog”
3. Use your variables (above) to fill in “keywords”. If at first you don’t get any hits, try other synonyms (similar words) and/or ask me. Don’t give up. Be sure to “limit your search” further on down on that form to more recent years, say 1998-2008. A book from 1962 isn’t going to help much.
4. When you find some books, write down their “Call Numbers” and “locations” here:
_____________ ____________ ______________ _________________
Check to see if they are “available”. If they are checked out, you may still be able to get them through OhioLink. If you see a book you really want, let me know and I’ll show you how to do that.
5. Now, the fun part. Go find the book. The circulating books are on the first floor. If you get stuck, look at the end of the bookshelves. There are maps. Or ask a librarian, or me.
6. Take your ID card and go check out the books tonight. Take at least two books to check out. You can keep them for three weeks, which is plenty of time for this paper.
7. You will be required for this paper to use at least one book, in addition to two or three scholarly articles from EBSCO or some other research database.
8. Take the books back before they are due! Never mess with the librarians!