Learning Centers – CALI 2012

Learning Center at TJSL

Upper Floor Learning Center at TJSL

Whoops! I know it’s now two weeks old, but want to finish my CALI posts so that I can then post them to our library blog at work.

SO! On the last day at CALI, I went to two presentations, and I’m going to talk about one of them here. It was called, “Learning Centers in the Library: What can we do with them?” and was given by a reference librarian from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The law school recently relocated, and the campus is gorgeous.

View from one of (!) TJSL's patios

View from one of (!) TJSL’s patios

Stairway at TJSL

Stairway at TJSL

The librarian discussed the use of “Learning Centers” (think “Apple Genius Bars”) at TJSL’s library. They have two learning centers, on different floors of the library, and they use the centers for various teaching opportunities:

  • She teaches Advanced Legal Research there. She can have the students go off and do exercises with the print resources, come back and talk about it.
  • They use them for smaller classes : on plagiarism, citation, etc.
  • The vendor reps use them, as well
  • Those who teach in the bar prep program use it

The set-up is pretty awesome:

Learning Center - with annotations

Main-level Learning Center at TJSL
(Click to see larger version of photo).

There’s a big screen in the middle of the area, which, when presentations are not going on, can display library/school/student information. There are two white boards on either side of the big screen. There’s a document camera on the “ceiling,” so the instructor can project either her computer or a book (or anything else) resting on the bar. The “bar” surface can also be used as a white board – students can sketch out a research plan right on the table, and the instructor can then project the plan on the big screen. The set-up also enables the instructor to unplug her computer/iPad from the document camera and easily plug in a student’s, for demonstration and collaboration purposes.

TJSL doesn’t currently use the Learning Centers this way, but she and other attendees envisioned other uses:

  • Training sessions for faculty
  • Allow legal writing instructors to use them for small group work
  • Career development could have small seminars there
  • I could see seminar classes being held here

She said that they have not had too many complaints about noise – that it is very clear when sessions are being held there, so students know when it will get noisy. But she said she doesn’t schedule any sessions during finals/study days.

She really likes using the learning centers for teaching because it allows for a more collaborative space than a traditional classroom, because she likes to be able to send the students out “into the stacks” at times during the class, and because she generally likes to be in the library when giving a research class.

I really like the look and feel of the Learning Centers, and would like to try to teach a small class in a similar set-up.
One Two other quick things I wanted to show:

QR Codes at TJSL

They’re using QR codes in different areas of the collection to explain what you’re looking at. I could see us doing that at certain areas of the library – esp. the 1L-intensive areas (ALRs, anyone?).


Vintage Bluebook!

Vintage Bluebook! Squee!

If you want to look at any of my other pics of CALI (I don’t really have very many), check out my CALI2012 set on Flickr.


It’s Friday, Friday

Moving back into my officeI’m moving my stuff back into my office. Oh, most of the stuff got moved in by the movers. This was the stuff that was so important to my day-to-day existence that it simply had to go with me to my temporary quarters. I’m sure you can see why.

In addition to moving, I passed along the following information: Continue reading

Day in the Life, part trois (mais de quartre jours)

Very high up

The painters and carpet-layers have almost finished with the second floor renovation. Today the painters were painting the triple-story open hallway, which is the first thing you see when you enter the library. This ladder that you see here? It’s perched on the STAIRS. I was very nervous for the painters, but they were joking and tossing things up to each other and listening to classic rock all day. No shushing here!

Today I realized that I started off this project forgetting the etiquette of explaining to y’all who I was and why I am here (or, in the words of the Library Day in the Life Project Wiki, “Include your job title and the type of library you work in at the beginning of your post [and] Explain why you’re capturing your day and link back here, to the wiki”).

So! I’m an academic law librarian (which you may have already noted from my tagline). Continue reading

Library Day in the Life, Day 3

We came, we saw, we wexed*

So, my spouse read yesterday’s post and declared it too boring for him to read any more posts. If you felt like that, you should just stop right now because yesterday was a thrill-a-minute compared to today. (On another note, I should come up with something fun to call my spouse on my blog. Like how Meg Cabot calls her spouse “He who shall not be named on this blog” on her blog. Until I come up with something, I shall call him “Paul”).

But I digress. Continue reading

Library Day in the Life, Day 2

Top of the stairs
Our always-helpful intern (and my friend) noted to me that a group of Librarians is doing another “Day in the Life” social-media-event-thingys, where “librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.” I’ve always wanted to contribute, so here I am. Of course, it started yesterday, so I’m behind a day.

Although, really, you could probably just read this entry twice if you wanted to know what I did yesterday. Continue reading

Photos of the week, week 8

The Library of Congress is so beautiful.
LOC Ceiling

When taking photos now, I’m leaving them in my camera for a week, rather than uploading them to my computer at the end of every day, like I did when I was doing my Project 365 last year. It’s kind of fun at the end of the week to re-see what I had seen over the week.

This is what it looked like when I left for D.C. last Tuesday: Continue reading

Wednesday in D.C.

Old card catalog at the Library of Congress

Had an enjoyable, if hectic, day in our nation’s capitol yesterday. Took the metro over to the Library of Congress in the morning (my flub there was in putting too much money on my fare cards. I found it difficult to figure out the little machines, in terms of how much you needed vs. had to purchase, and, of course, you don’t want to hold things up with your obvious tourist-itude, so I now have at least three fares-worth of cards that are likely to go unused. Ah, well). Had tours of some of the reading rooms there (I want to live in their main reading room), saw the old card catalog (seen above) – it is still used, because apparently when they made the transition to online, not all of the records made it, and they don’t know which ones are missing, and got a little private tour of the Law Library of Congress. Geek out!

Then I had to go do conference stuff, as mentioned yesterday. I will be manning our research kiosk today for a while; will let you know if I get any good questions. Or weird ones.

Met a friend for dinner and some more Thai food. Had a good time discussing law librarianship, toddlers, and college angst. Got in just before the thunderstorms struck. But I’m not going to complain about them, because I guess we got struck with six inches of snow back home. Then I finished reading Desirable Daughters, by Bharati Mukherjee, which I’d started on the plane. I recommend it.

Again, will just post a few posts here, because formatting these links is a pain and a half on an iPad. For similar reasons, please forgive my unorthodox citation methods. It is even more difficult to cut and paste on this thing.

  • Best Practices for Legal Education, The reality of the Socratic Method, A Response. Frankly, I don’t know why the Socratic method couldn’t be used on the practical level as well as, or in addition to, the theoretical one (surely it is practical to teach students to think carefully on their feet, as they will have to if they do appellate litigation?) but it now occurs to me that I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever seen the Socratic method employed well.
  • Tom & Lorenzo, Michelle Obama in Chile. I love her style. 
  • LLRX, Emerging Legal Issues in Social Media, part II. A listing of posts, including links to law review articles and judicial opinions, regarding social media and the law (such as Tweeting jurors, Facebooking workers’ comp claimants, etc.). 

Note to self: don’t wear your pretty belts with the big silver buckles into federal buildings or the airport anymore.