Scavenger hunts do not equal love

Written by: Rachel Minkin

Primary Source: Information Literacy Resources

Well, at least not for your first year students.

Oh, we totally get WHY you want your class to have the scavenger hunt. You love the library with all your heart (you couldn’t have completed your dissertation without logging hours and hours of writing time here)… the depth of knowledge, the round-the-clock hours, that smell of slightly musty old books. Oh and who can’t forget hours spent, neck craned at some odd angle, shelf reading? You found that one book that was so perfect that you wouldn’t have known about had you not just spent the time in here physically roaming the stacks….

For our first year students, however, the library is a place on campus and nothing more. Sure, some already have an innate love of all things library and they may enjoy rummaging around in hidden nooks, looking for a purple book on the 4th floor or something… but the bulk of your students? They do not want or need to spend time and/or energy on finding an object that isn’t clearly going to help them in some way.

Let’s state this in a positive way. The most effective library sessions are when students find things that are clearly and immediately necessary for their own assignments. So, not finding “a purple book on 4th” but rather finding a scholarly book on writing personal narrative… or Medieval manuscripts, or medicine for under-served populations, etc.

Creating meaningful connection with the Library as place doesn’t happen just by stepping in the doors of this building. The meaningful connection occurs with repeated positive exposure so set your students up for a successful library visit by creating a scenario where your students find what they need at their point of need.

Interested in learning more about creating assignments with a more holistic, integrated library component? Speak with a librarian liaison in your field of research.

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Rachel Minkin
Rachel M. Minkin is an Information Literacy Librarian, responsible for leading information literacy sessions for the first-year students taking Tier One Writing class in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures. Prior to beginning at Michigan State in August 2011, Rachel was a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Lansing Community College (Lansing, MI) and the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, CA).