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If the folks in Research and Instruction have looked a bit like deer caught in headlights this semester there is good reason. Our statistics are through the roof for both library instruction ‘one shot’ classes as well as one-on-one personal research sessions. So far this semester we have taught 124 one-shot library instruction sessions to 1928 students. That is 81% of sessions (75% of students) of the TOTAL number we did in the entire 2008-2009 year!! And the same is true of Personal Research Sessions. So far this year we have done 305 Personal Research Sessions which is 73% of the total number from all of last year. (Last year we nearly doubled the number of personal research sessions from the year before). And we still have two weeks to go and many sessions scheduled in those weeks. And it has not just been the Research and Instruction folks who have been participating. Carolyn McCallum, Leslie McCall, Cristina Yu and Erik Mitchell have all taught classes.
We’ve had lots of discussions (around the pots of very strong coffee we brew each morning) about why this is the case, and we feel that it in some way goes back to the new kind of students and faculty Wake Forest is attracting and developing who are not only willing to seek out help, but who are eager to take advantage of help when it is offered. That, coupled with the fact that we are good at our jobs, means faculty keep asking us to teach sessions, and students come back time and time again and tell their friends about us. The long hours, late night emails with students to schedule meetings, hours of prep for instruction sessions and the time spent on creating LibGuides are all worth it when we see the light go on in the eyes of students when they find the exact sources that will help them write their papers or when we have faculty thank us for the help we give their students. We feel this is one of the critical ways we help our students and faculty succeed and it is the heart and soul of our jobs, but we’ll all need a break come the holidays to gear up for it all again in the Spring!