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Second Generation Librarian.

Just got done with Parents as Partners: Homework Help on the Net – my bibliographic instruction course for kids grade 4-6 and their parents. It’s free (yippee!) but for some reason that means that I usually get a far lower enrolment than on paper. So, 5 kids enrolled, 2 showed up. One of the little girls, Cheri, was very sweet and enthusiastic, but her dad didn’t come with her (which is sort of the point) and the other girl appeared SO very angry to be there, but her mom was full of questions and made the class fly by. Altogether, a success! ūüėÄ

I¬†usually have ¬†problems explaining to kids (as well as parents) the concept of a “database.” Parents have been taught by most teacher that print = good, electronic = bad. While kids and teens also need convincing that an article from, say, ProQuest is, in fact, an authoritative resource and will “count” towards their homework assignment as “not a¬†website.”

As a side note, in a public library heavily used by university students (York University, Ryerson,¬†and University of Toronto are within spitting distance… not to mention Seneca College) I often get frustrated by the teacher who assign complicated, multiple-source assignments, but say “print only.” We simply don’t have that many print resources, and those we do have are easily depleted. Yargh!

But I digress…

¬†So, my goal is to convince them both that what they’re doing is not quite the same as “the Internet.” My latest try: “imagine crumpling up an encyclopedia… and then putting it in¬†a computer!” didn’t quite make it through translation. Trying to explain the concept of “e-resources” to a 9 year old is sometimes very hard. So tonight I tried “the library is a database, too… but one you can walk into. The ones on the computer are like little tiny libraries in the computer.” seemed to get the message across better and I was starting to get excited, but then the little enthusiastic one said “So like Google?”


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