Saint Leo Honored for Creativity in Library Services

August 15, 2014

Two faculty members on staff at the Daniel A. Cannon Memorial Library have been presented with a new award from the American Library Association that honors innovation in instructional programming. Jacalyn Bryan, assistant professor, and Elana Karshmer, associate professor, developed an engaging new orientation program that guides first-year students through the essential elements of college library research. (Pictured: Ms. Bryan at left and Ms. Karshmer at right, in front of their award.)

In selecting the Saint Leo Cannon Library program for the inaugural Innovation in Instruction Award, the Library Instruction Roundtable noted that the program was not only innovative and relatively inexpensive to create, but that it also incorporated elements other institutions could replicate. These attributes made it stand out among other submissions for special recognition.

The orientation program Ms. Bryan and Ms. Karshmer created was divided into multiple steps, beginning with an interactive game based on the popular television show Mission: Impossible. Students were challenged to free Fritz, the Saint Leo University mascot, from supposed captivity by finding clues, thus “packaging their encounter with the library in a way that seems fun,” Ms. Karshmer explained. After finishing the game, students completed an activity based on a video tutorial, and then worked on a self-guided activity utilizing library resources to answer research-based questions.

Elements of the program can be changed or updated as needed, while maintaining the goals of teaching students to locate and retrieve information, and equipping them with the skills needed to analyze and apply the information appropriately.

“There is substantial crossover between information literacy and critical thinking,” which has been articulated as a key element of a Saint Leo education, Ms. Bryan noted. So while the faculty members were on one level designing a way to acquaint new students with the Cannon Memorial Library, on a deeper level they were helping students develop the critical thinking skills that will serve them throughout their lifetimes.

Director of Library Services Brent Short added: “One of the aspects that I appreciated most about the orientation program Jackie and Elana put together was that it gave the students a chance (or excuse) to meet the entire library staff face to face, and in return, gave the entire library staff a chance to join in and work on a single project together, which made it pretty unique…and fun.”

Cannon Memorial Library offers vast online resources to students as well as actual print titles.