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The following data refer to college seniors and are taken from a New York Times Op-Ed posted May 14, 2011, Your So-Called Education by Richard Arum, a professor of sociology and education at New York University, and Josipa Roksa, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, authors of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. (Also a version of this op-ed appeared in print on May 15, 2011, on page WK10 of the New York edition with the headline: Your So-Called Education.)

  • 32 percent of the students did not take a single course with more than 40 pages of reading per week
  • 50 percent did not take any course requiring more than 20 pages of writing over the semester
  • average student spent only about 12 to 13 hours per week studying — about half the time a full-time college student in 1960 spent studying (Babcock & Marks)
  • students showed no significant progress on tests of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing
    • 45 percent of the students would not have demonstrated gains of even one point over the first two years of college
    • 36 percent would not have shown such gains over four years of college
  • 36 percent of students in our study who reported spending 5 or fewer hours/week studying alone still had an average G.P.A. of 3.16

Why? Arum and Roksa point to “cultural changes in the relationship between student and colleges.”

When my sons began college, I passed along the advice I’d received years before: spend three hours studying for every one hour in class (e.g., 15-hour load=45/week — or about half one’s waking hours, given 8 hrs sleep/night). No, I never managed that much either way back when, but they were rather aghast … it’s a far, far cry from 12-15 hrs per week (one hour or less for every hour in class) which Arum and Roksa report!

[It’s not just college students, however.  Haven’t we all heard parents complain that their kids have little to no homework? “I did it in class,” they say. …Stopping now before I get on a rant…]

The op-ed suggestions for addressing the problem are rather large-scale. I’m left wondering what I/we as librarian/s can do…


So…about one of those ‘twelve’ things I learned this last weekend…

Erin has recently posted QR codes in the library where she works. We’ve been sharing online information about QR codes for a few weeks, but actually hearing her describe what she’d done, and seeing how she’d done it — as well as suggestion that we include QR codes on our poster — motivated me to take the technology into my own library. You can see the result in the following photos:

It’s not much, but it’s a start. How do you (or your library) use QR codes?

One of the wonderful things about conferences and retreats is the inspiration one often receives from the other attendees. If this kind of inspiration and rejuvenation comes from good friends, so much the better. For that is another benefit of getting out of your own environment, exchanging gripes and ideas, hearing about the successful and not-so-successful: meeting up with friends, new and old.

We can’t all travel to national meetings. Sometimes we can’t even travel to state meetings. But, I would encourage anyone to take a weekend and get together with one or more fellow librarians. Plan for some good food, some good conversation, and maybe plan to brainstorm a project or problem together. I will almost guarantee you will head home with a lighter heart, no matter the problems at work, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have learned a thing or twelve, too.

This past weekend, I traveled about 280 miles to visit a young woman who is a former co-worker — and now colleague (we also attended library school together) — Erin Boyd. The primary reason for the trip was our collaboration on a poster for the upcoming American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans (June 2011). Yes, we are collaborating via the Internet and email, but we wanted some face-to-face time during the process, too.

We have both been so busy with regular work tasks and other special projects and presentations, that this poster project has just now become the top priority. Personally, I didn’t think I was prepared to begin work on the actual poster. I felt I needed to study the topics further. It took a little while, but we were soon moving forward, and though there is more work to do, we made a good start. Plus, we discovered we really were of the same mind about a lot of the content and format!

Through out the weekend though, there were these wonderful little “Ah-hah!” moments. Some were the result of simply discussing a current situation at work, others it was sharing a solution in one place that will work in another. We shared technology tools we’ve tried or heard about, discovered features in software, and just generally had fun.

I’ll say right now, I wish we still worked at the same library. For now, we’ll collaborate as often as possible, and visit whenever we can.

In Sean Fitzpatrick’s Perpetual Beta blog today, two statements stand out. Speaking about Drupal,

If invented today, […] it would be designed for mobile devices first, with data output for desktop/laptop markup […]

The (return?) to simpler, cleaner web pages is certainly appealing, if for no other reason than to be able to quickly process information. Right up there with aggregators, to pull together information I want to see from sources I choose, whether it’s TweetDeck, Google Reader,, or Flipboard (among many).

Fitzpatrick sums it up well:

Buytaert [Drupal project lead] sees the future of technology and computing as an environment where any information can be accessed on any device and in an environment where users can become more and more interactive with the applications.

Reminding me of my alma mater’s athletics motto:

Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime.


My, my, this is going to be a busy spring!
Today I received word that the poster proposal a colleague and I submitted to ALA was accepted. This was my first attempt to submit for ALA, and I must give all the credit to my co-presenter, Erin. She’d been through it several times, and kept asking those prodding questions that enabled us to prepare a successful proposal.
In addition to ALA in June, I am presenting a break-out session at the 2011 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, to be held on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, April 6th to 8th.
Between now and May, I will be reading and reviewing a selection of books for an award committee. Since I’m not sure if it is appropriate to discuss that, so until I know for sure, I won’t.

Oh, yes, I’m heading to a 3-day education/technology conference on Wednesday, the Society of Mississippi Archivists conference (April 20-21) materials went up on the website today, but my application to State’s doctoral program is still in-progress.

The telephone interview will be (if/when it happens) a new experience for me, as was the interview by committee for my current job, and the whole cover letter/curriculum vita application process for professional positions.

Several things stand out in the material I’ve reviewed to prepare for the possibility of a telephone interview (a simple Google search for “telephone interview” turned up some great information).  During the interview:

Stand up while you are talking.

Look in a mirror if possible.


Use a hands-free headset, so you move more naturally, as you would during a face-to-face interview.

Practice out loud, with someone, using a recording device.

The MLIS is in your hot little hand, your resume is perfected, you are subscribed through an aggregate reader to all the job posting lists, and you are churning out cover letters to every one for which you even think you are qualified.

The letters come (or don’t come… which is worse?) and generally indicate you lack the experience required.

How are you to overcome this barrier?

scriggle tweets



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