LibGuides – What to Call Them?

Like a lot of libraries, we use the popular LibGuides program from Springshare. First purchased in 2009, our stats have increased greatly each year: from 3,506 hits in 2009-2010, to over 44,000 hits in 2011-2012. LibGuides are popular with both students and faculty–even getting to the point of students asking us, “Why isn’t there a guide for my other class?” — “Tell your professor to talk to us!”  we say…

One issue the library staff has dealt with is terminology. Among the librarians, we use the term “LibGuides”–but we avoid using the term when branding the resource to students and faculty. On our website, we simply label them as “Guides.” However, after completing a user survey of our library services, resources, and website, several respondents reported being unsure of terminology–and what exactly a “Guide” entailed–was it for a specific class, or a broad subject area?

Curious to see how other library websites have termed their LibGuides, I posted a survey to ILI-L (the instruction/information literacy discussion list) to find out. I had 130 respondents. Here are the results:

What Do You Call the LibGuides Link on Your Library's Website?

The term “Research Guides” was, by far, the number one choice. It also matched the preferred term of students in a survey done by Mark Aaron Polger, “Student Preferences in Library Website Vocabulary” published in Library Practice and Philosophy, 2011:

Excerpt: A survey of 300 college students asked, “What term on the library website do your prefer if you need help with research?”

  • 36% chose “Research Guides”
  • 20% chose “Resources by Subject”
  • 18% chose “Research Help”
  • 16% chose “Library Guides”
  • 10% chose “Subject Guides”

After getting feedback from our own students, we decided to change the link name to “Research Guides” – after all, the resource is there for the students. We want them to know what it is–and to use it.

Things My Dad Taught Me

I haven’t blogged much this summer–my mind has been elsewhere…

My dad passed away back in May. He was 63. It was a brain tumor–the most aggressive kind, discovered last October. An operation followed and most of it was removed, however it reappeared rapidly again in the spring. This time, surgery was not an option. Instead of prolonging the inevitable, he dealt with it on his own terms. Dad had a slow and gradual decline and went peacefully in his sleep at his home.

I’ve been thinking about him a lot. In fact, it was on a Friday when I pulled into the library parking lot and got the phone call with the bad news. I had been planning on seeing him the very next day.

Usually I blog about library-related things here. I’m making an exception just this once. Although these items below are general in nature, I can see some applications for librarians…So here goes: Things my dad taught me, or lessons learned from him and his life:

  • Don’t waste time. If there’s something you want to do, then do it! It could be a job promotion you want, a trip you want to take, losing a few pounds…whatever. Stop making excuses. Stop wasting your time. Time is something you can never get back.
  • The golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Before criticizing other people, put yourself in their shoes.
  • The customer is not always right. Outrageous demands? Yelling? Don’t let it slide. Be firm, yet tactful. Bad behavior shouldn’t get rewarded. How will anyone learn?
  • Stop worrying about what other people think of you. Concentrate on being a good person. Do a good job. Trust your own judgment.
  • Cherish nature: it’s one of the few things in life that is free – a beautiful sunrise, fog rising off of the lake, a crisp autumn morning, the crunch of snow beneath your shoes. Go out and enjoy it.
  • Stop being overcommitted. Or at least don’t whine about it. “Oh, I have another committee meeting.” Learn to say “No” when you need to. Use your vacation time. Learn to unwind. Take time to enjoy life for yourself.
  • Learn how to tell a story: My dad was what you would call a raconteur – everyone loved to hear him tell a story. A lot of us can easily present facts, but how do we weave it into a story? How do we make the information relatable? That is key.
  • Everyone has something to contribute. Everyone is important. We all have our different areas of expertise, but we all have something to share. Don’t think you’re better than the next person. Be humble.

I miss my dad a lot, but I also have many good memories–and have hopefully learned a few of his good traits.