S.5 Delighted to make your acquaintance: Introducing users to primary sources

The central theme of this session was the notion of surrending complete authority over the collections that we manage, in favor of shared learning and development with our users.

Several of my biggest take-aways from the speakers included:

  1. Learning is a social activity. Peer-to-peer learning is a powerful pedagogical tool for archivists and students.
  2. The importance of understanding your researcher’s methodologies and goals.
  3. The power we can derive from reaching one new archival researcher through classroom instruction.
  4. The need for different pedagogical tools in virtual spaces to provide additional context for digitized content.
  5. The mechanics of using archives, less about the nuts and bolts of the reading room and department procedures.
  6. How archives instruction can lead to working with students to publish their research.

The real bright spot for me in this session was Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh’s call for instruction as collaboration. In other words, bringing in librarians and faculty to co-teach sessions results in a stronger product and a moreauthentic  research experience for students, who will need to consult primary and secondary sources. 

I teach 95% of my classes each semester with either another staff member in my department, but more often with a subject specialist. I hope others come to see the power and fun that can come by teaming up.

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