Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Library Ninjas!


LibNinjasCover Academic Librarians Get Graphic

I love hearing about things that combine my interests of librarianship and comics, so I was really chuffed to hear of news that Kansas State University Salina and Kansas Wesleyan University has partnered up to create a comic instruction manual for students on how to use the library, its resources and the effective utilisation of both to conduct research. Undergraduate services librarian, Heidi Blackburn and associate librarian Kate Wise, worked together with Kansas State Salina student Greg Charland to create storyboards with the librarians writing the instructional section and Charland co-writing and illustrating the whole thing.

The librarians and the comic manual were inspired by nearby institution, McPherson College’s Miller Library, who had produced something similar to great effect a couple of years earlier. That manual was created by Michael Hall and Matt Upson, who presented it at the Kansas Library Association Spring Conference, and were immediately snapped up by several libraries wanting them to produce comic manuals for their own institutions. Buoyed by the idea, but faced with the prospect of Upson and Hall being unavailable due to commitments to other libraries, Blackburn and Wise instead hired the talents of student Charland. You can view their manual in full here  and read about the impact of the booklet below:
 
Libraryninjas3 Academic Librarians Get Graphic
 
'All Kansas Wesleyan University freshmen received the book during library instruction day in early September, as part of Wesleyan Challenge, a required first-year experience program. An email introducing the graphic novel was sent to the faculty and the public relations office. An announcement was made on the college’s home page, and the library’s, with a link to the electronic version, and it was supported by a display in the library’s main case.
 
Afterwards, both schools surveyed students in their university experience courses to see whether the comic had been a success. Said Blackburn, “the assessment turned out much better than we even anticipated.” Blackburn and Wise had expected about half of the students to successfully demonstrate the skills taught in the comic; actually, the results were higher, with over 80 percent on both campuses now able to successfully use Boolean search strings, and about 60 percent to identify the online catalog as the way to find books. Some 49 percent of K-State students could identify interlibrary loan, and 73 percent of Kansas Wesleyan students.
 
Not only was the comic effective, it was appealing. Some 84 percent of K-State students surveyed rated the graphic novel as “awesome” or “pretty cool”, and 65 percent of Kansas Wesleyan students. About half of the students said they would refer to the comic again in future.'
 

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