before arranging a visit to the UW Libraries
Have you discussed your students' research needs with your school librarian or media specialist? Have the students had at least one session with the school librarian or media specialist focusing on research strategies and sources for their topic?
Has your school librarian contacted the UW Libraries for consultation on research strategies appropriate for your students? Frequently this consultation raises key issues regarding student research behavior and needs, empowers the school librarian to facilitate student research, and identifies a variety of approaches to achieve teaching and learning objectives.
Can your students get needed information more easily from the school or local public library? Consider what is available to all schools through the State's Database Licensing Project. Our undergraduate students are heavy users of these same databases. Books and articles not provided by these databases, but cited in them, can be obtained from our collections through interlibrary loan from local public library systems, typically free of charge. Students are still very welcome to come to the UW Libraries to access and photocopy their own articles, with help from our reference staff in finding additional information, as needed.
Do your students need the level and range of information that can be found at a research library? More than just quantity and depth of scholarly resources, college-level research is a process of sustained inquiry. This process draws upon a fairly sophisticated mental model of the information world, a model which students develop by addressing assignments of graduated, carefully-calibrated complexity. Consider the value to your students of providing them with a learning situation that builds a framework for managing the complexity of the university information environment with self-confidence and realistic expectations. We find that students who have performed the process in the controlled environment of a secondary school before arriving at the university are better prepared for college-level research anywhere.
Is there a possibility that a visit to the UW Libraries will result in increased frustration for your students? Competing with our primary users for resources and services during busy times of our academic year may actually result in loss of confidence and in your students developing a negative image of the University Library and library experience generally. This is our worst-case scenario and one that can be avoided.