Geisel librarians organize “brown bag lunch discussion”

Juliann Guerra, News Content Editor

Geisel Library hosted a “Brown Bag Lunch Discussion” event on Mon. Nov. 12 called “How Students Engage with News” where faculty and staff were invited to discuss Project Information Literacy’s newest report on the topic.  

Malinda Malik was one of the librarians who helped organize this event and others like it.

“Every semester we offer programming for faculty and staff on a variety of topics, such as introducing new online resources, using tools or technologies to support teaching and learning, and strategies for incorporating or discussions of the college’s information literacy learning outcome. We’ve been doing this for many years and will continue to do so as a way to support teaching and learning on campus.

When our interests have aligned, we collaborated with other campus departments such as the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), Instructional Technology, and the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance (CEBG).

Other times, we’ve held programming on our own, like this one. These events are specifically designed and marketed for faculty and staff. Students could come if they’d like, but in our experience we’ve found more success in connecting with students through their classes.

“That said, we’re always looking for new ideas on how we can better support students and I invite feedback and suggestions from students at any time” Malik said.

For this event, the group discussed the different findings in the report and the recommendations given to go along with those findings, but mostly the group discussed what the findings meant to Saint Anselm College.  

An issue that came up with the findings was that the students used in the study were divided by gender and not age.  The faculty and staff present at the event discussed the differences in underclassmen and upperclassmen when it came to researching trustworthy news sites for class.

Students with less practice researching are more likely to find less trustworthy articles.  An idea given was to give more guidance to underclassmen and less to upperclassmen, but that can be challenging in classes with students from different years.

Another interesting comment that was brought up was that students are more likely to trust a source if it comes with a graphic of a chart or table, but they fail to do further research to double check the results in the graphics.

Malik expresses why she believes faculty, staff, and librarians should be constantly communicating with one another on campus:

“We, the librarians, think it’s important to keep lines of communication open with faculty regarding information literacy. It’s a college-wide learning outcome and librarians are experts in this area. Faculty are subject specialists in their disciplines.

Information literacy is basically the discipline for librarians in which we are subject specialists. We look for opportunities to engage faculty in conversation about topics such as this to encourage discourse, develop relationships, and learn how we can best support research and knowledge creation of both students and faculty.

In this particular instance, a national research project called, Project Information Literacy, recently released the results of their latest study, which happened to align perfectly with Dr. Wineburg’s conversation. We hoped that faculty would be interested in continuing the conversation, extending Dr. Wineburg’s ideas to include that of this new research.”

Dr. Samuel Wineburg is a professor in the education department at Stanford University, who was brought to campus with the help of Prof. Terrell.  He lead a lecture on Oct. 5 called, “Surfing in the Age of Fake News: Media Literacy for College-Level Readers” where he spoke about fake news, media literacy and college-level readers.

Malik further explained, “Librarians only witness a small piece of the student experience. We need to be in constant conversation with not only faculty, but other campus groups as well in order to fully understand how students are navigating through college in order to determine how to best meet their needs.

That’s why we are here.  Conversations such as this are intended to get people thinking and talking to each other. They spark curiosity, creativity and generate new ideas. Ultimately we just want to support students and faculty. We hope this type of programming will help us do that.”

The library staff continues to strive to keep streams of communication open among departments in order to benefit the students during their research.