on going to disneyland …

We’re going to Disneyland!

Okay, just kidding! We’re not going to Disneyland, but libraries can do field trips and we’re going to … The Hamilton Library at the University of Hawaii at Manoa! Woohoo!

That’s almost just as good as Disneyland!

Okay, maybe not … but still, for librarians, a field trip to a university library with high school juniors is pretty awesome! Yay!

We can see Hamilton Library at UH from a grassy knoll just below our library here at Mid-Pacific and to address what academic librarian K.G. Schneider over at her Free Range Librarian Blog describes as the “Ginormous Problem,” we have planned a field trip to Hamilton Library for our IB juniors. Research by the folk over at Project Information Literacy indicates that college frosh typically find their university libraries “ginormous,” intimidating, and rather bewildering. Given the gem of a resource sitting, quite literally, a leisurely six-minute stroll beyond the back gate of our campus, this seemed like an opportunity just too good to pass up!







With kind help and advice from Darla Magana, Lee Sprague, Sandy Dow, Jewell Anderson, and Dorcas Hand in response to a query to the AISL listserv, we set about coming up with a plan. Our IB juniors are in the beginning-ish stages of their IB Extended Essay projects so our plan is to take them over for an initial visit to give them a feel for the size of the facility, the kind of resources that are available to them there, and to get some practice navigating through a ginormous library.

After this initial visit and after students have gotten further down their research roads with their faculty mentors, our plan is to divide the IB students into humanities and science/technology cohorts and work with them on searching Hamilton Library’s online catalog for sources we may not be able to access in other ways. With working bibliographies in hand, we plan to take the smaller cohorts back for working research days.  Our high school classes run 85-minutes so it is our hope to be able to return to Hamilton Library for follow-up research and work days without impacting our day-to-day class scheduling.

Goals for our initial visit are that at the end of the visit, students will be able to:

  • Use a Library of Congress call number to locate a resource on a topic in the book stacks.
  • Explain the difference between an academic journal and a magazine and why that matters when writing your IB extended essay.
  • Use signage, maps, and other directional aids to successfully navigate through Hamilton Library.

We have 24 students working on full IB certificates so they will be divided into four smaller groups for the initial visit.  Each group will locate the same kinds of resources, but they will do them in different orders in order to minimize the impact on university students, faculty, and staff.  Each group, accompanied by a Mid-Pacific librarian or teacher (we have two librarians, the IB Director who is also our Vice-Principal of Academics, and a history teacher whose wife happens to be the University Librarian, along for the ride!) will seek out the following:

Click here to view PDF: Hamilton Library Activity Sheets

Hamilton 1 Hamilton 2

Hamilton 3 Hamilton 4

In one final stroke of good fortune, while planning this activity we learned that the IB history teacher who happens to have all of the IB juniors will be teaching a unit on the Internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.  We searched the UH catalog for print holdings on Japanese-American and Japanese-Canadian Internment and used the call number ranges for our call number location activity. We are hopeful that we may be able to arrange a return trip to do some Japanese Internment research at Hamilton sooner than we had even anticipated!

Update: We took our trip on December 12th.  I was worried that our students might fail to see the value in the trip itself, but I was really pleasantly surprised that the kids enjoyed the visit. I thought that the number if things we asked students to find was rather ambitious so we labeled them “If time allows,” but all of the groups found everything on the scavenger hunt list AND had about 20 minutes to go off in pairs and explore parts of the library.  We had students geeking out (in the best possible way) over books with mathematical proofs in the Science and Technology stacks, students revisiting the Japanese internment books, and other kids just browsing and finding interesting oddities in the stuff in the stacks.  A number of students asked whether it was okay for them to come back on their own after school and on weekends which was music to my ears!  One BIG surprise was our students’ willingness to walk up to librarians at reference desks and ask for help.  The university library staff will actually leave the desk and walk you over to the resources in the stacks.  I think most of our students finished the activity realizing the asking for help was painless and was not to be feared.  I could not have hoped for a more positive learning outcome!

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