Tonight is the final episode of Gilmore Girls–it is a bit of a shock to the system after watching it every Tuesday for seven years. Anyway…
I happened to notice this abstract that’s going to be presented at MLA. It’s about sending first year medical students on a treasure hunt as their orientation to the Weill Cornell Medical Library. It rather reminded me of what we do for our first year student orientation, so I thought I’d share. (Incidentally, though my medical school just doesn’t have the students to support this, I really like what Georgia Tech did for their freshman orientation last year–see the Ubiquitous Librarian for more.)
At my library, we have Grand Rounds. The students are given a set of “cases,” divided into teams, and then sent on their way to the various campus libraries they need to go to to resolve their cases. For example, one case might require that they find a copy of a journal article written by one of their professors, ask a reference librarian a question, or find a book in a particular library.
Last year, it was a lot of fun. We gave them a quick library introduction, handed out the cases, and sat back waiting for the students to return for a prize (gift certificates to Chipotle) for the first team back, and snacks and goodies for the rest. A few of the teams RAN the whole way and ended up back at the library breathless. It was great.
This year, we’ll be doing it again (not only did we enjoy it, the other libraries around campus enjoyed being able to show off their libraries to the medical students), but we’ve been asked not to give prizes to the winners–the medical school is trying to foster a sense of team work and discourages competition. Personally, I think that reintroduces the boring factor to an alarming degree. Not to mention the fact that these students were born and bred competitive–it’s not going to kill their drive to compete by not giving cheap prizes for the library grand rounds. Just yesterday, one of my student employees was telling me that one of her classmates was loudly debating with his fiancee about which student got a high score on a Step 1 practice test–weighing each classmate’s merits and flaws in turn.
My library grand rounds program wasn’t analyzed or evaluated with surveys, but there is something inherently satisfying about seeing students race into the library and fight to get to the desk first. :) And if they learn a little in the process, even better.