Friday, January 22, 2010

Helicopter Parents in the Library

It has been a very long time since I've written a post on Library Cloud, but I didn't feel that I had much to add to the general library conversation and was busy with other projects. So I happily lurked in the blogosphere waiting for a topic to capture my attention.

I've heard of Helicopter Parents as I'm sure most people working in academia have by now, and read with amused interest the story that Time magazine did on the topic in November. I have mostly been immune to this emerging phenomenon due to my position in a rather specialized and small graduate school library. We have students of all ages so I am quite used to answering questions from student patrons ranging in age from late teens to senior citizens.

A couple of times over the last year, I have received reference questions that started off in a relatively straight-forward way until I began asking clarifying questions. In both cases, the truth emerged: "Well, my daughter wasn't clear on that aspect..." or "Yes, my son really wants more info about..." These parents were doing the research for their undergrads!

I'm not talking about picking up an odd article or book for their over-scheduled offspring, but as both reference interviews progressed it was clear that they were doing everything beyond the basic Google search where their child got stuck and asked mommy to rescue them. (Yes, one of the mothers used the word "rescue.") Both of them seemed a bit embarrassed, but resolute to help their busy children. From what I gathered, the student was still going to write the paper (or so I hope), which actually made the interview more difficult.

As a professional, in both cases, I tried my best to guide them to the needed information and gently prodded that their son/daughter would be better served by coming in themselves, but was left feeling like somehow I was helping them to cheat in some way. Isn't part of a college education (and a research project for that matter) learning to do the research for yourself? Isn't that what professors are assuming and factoring into the student's grade?

I looked for advice in other library blogs (admittedly not an exhaustive search) and only found instances (mainly from 2008) where helicopter parents were discussed as a trend or as potential avenues to market the library (one example: Lorcan Dempsey), but I didn't see any posts about parents doing their child's research or thoughts on the professional ethics. So I'm appealing to other librarians (or non-librarians) for your thoughts or experiences with this.

Is this aiding and abetting cheating? Or just filling a need? What are the ethical obligations to the University and to the patron? I look forward to reading your comments.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

14th Off-Campus Library Services Conference

"The Fourteenth Off-Campus Library Services Conference will be held April 28-30, 2010, at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Please join us for this opportunity to explore issues related to delivering library resources and services to distance students and faculty." -- Conference Web Site
Registration is open until March 26 – Late Registration begins March 27, 2010! For more information, visit the conference web site, facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or sign up for the list serv

Library Cloud contributor Betsy Blankenship, Ohio State University at Marion / Marion Technical College Library and Elizabeth Black, Ohio State University Libraries, will be presenting their session Linking Students to Library Resources through the Learning Mangement System on Wednesday, April 28th (Session 2, Superior Meeting Room).

Monday, January 11, 2010

eTech Ohio Conference

About the Conference:

"This year's theme P-20 Conversations: Shaping a Path for the 21st Century Student will address the need to integrate technology throughout a student's career. That is why eTech Ohio is collaborating with the Ohio Learning Network (OLN). Our desire for this P-20 Conference is to foster access to new technology, engage participants in understanding why these technologies are important and progress Ohio's education spectrum."

"This engaging Conference promises to offer something for everyone. Features will include renowned keynote and featured speaker sessions, peer-to-peer multi-strand sessions, interactive displays, a dedicated assistive technology area and an exhibit hall featuring over 200 emerging technology services. With over 450 sessions and displays, 250 vendors and 6,000 participants, this is the state's educational technology convention."

I am presenting with Dr. Deanna Romano, Assistant Professor, Ashland University Dwight Schar College of Education, at this year's conference on Wednesday morning. Our presentation, Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Meet 21st Century Skills, has a supporting LibGuide. We are still putting the finishing touches on the material, but plan to feature various technologies utilized for EDCI 232/505 Introduction to the Principles of Instructional Technology.

This conference is pertinent in many ways; it will feature 2.0 technologies and tools useful to the library and IRC as we support the COE and it's students, collaboration ideas with faculty, and resources to advocate teaching and learning for the library community. Furthermore, it will provide ideas and resources to me as an adjunct faculty member as it features emergent technology and applications, along with resources for effective learning environments.

The eTech Ohio site has a 2010 Conference Countdown, today it is at 20 days. Now all I have to do is remember to register tomorrow!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ALAO Newsletter Blog

The newest edition of the ALAO Newsletter, Volume 24, Number 4 (January 2010) is now available. Highlights include:

New Year's Blog-keeping

It has been far too long since links were checked in the blog sidebar; one of those tasks that's often relegated to the "when there's time" pile. After I finished adding, deleting, and editing links, our template suddenly  looked a bit ragged and worn. Now that it is possible to adjust your template in Blogger without losing all of the sidebar information, I spent a good fifteen minutes tweaking the look of Library Cloud.

While not perfect, it is now a bit easier on the eye and cleaner on the screen.  I hope to get the cloud logo back to the header (it needs work, too) and adjust the color a bit more, but this evening Blogger refuses to let me edit any color or font on the template. For now, the cloud is back.