Flash Reference: A New Way of Teaching the Same Old Stuff
This session was part of the double feature with the other being the above session. This definitely had my attention in my first glance at the finalized conference program. What is this new way with the same old stuff it boldly proclaimed? My question got its answered in the form of another question:
Do you know what a flash mob is?
For the unaware, a flash mob usually involves a spontaneous gathering of people, doing an action, at the mere drop of a hat. People don’t know flash mobs take a bit of planning, but they do get people’s attention. (Just look up ‘Flash Mob’ videos on YouTube) Flash reference takes the short, spontaneous format and applies it to reference. Librarian Katherine Penner, armed sometimes with a data projector and laptop, and other times just herself, walk into computer labs/student areas for one minute presentations.
She has flashed in and out on such things as reading a citation to simply letting students know about Elizabeth Dafoe Library’s Long Night of Procrastination. The flash reference sessions required research, careful timing, the right place, and of course the right topic. In short it’s time to get out from behind a desk, and bring the services and information to the students. Remember brevity is the soul of wit, and sometimes it take a minute to show students what’s available to them.
Gearing Up for an Accessible Campus: A Case of University of Manitoba Libraries
In December the The Accessibility for Manitobans Act became law in the province of Manitoba. It means standards to remove barriers for people with disabilities goes from optional to necessary. This session focused on a collaboration between Disability Services (represented by Jeff Buhse) and libraries (Asaka Yoshida) to not only address the physical disabilities such as visual impairment, but the more ‘hidden’ ones such as dyslexia and anxiety disorders.
Some of the assistive technologies such as various speech-to-text software I already see at the college, or saw at an assistive technology conference in 2012. However the act was in its last stages of ratification, with many people keeping one eye on its adaptions. The other on what’s available to fit budgets and the types of students served by its technology. Sometimes the most radical purchase is a set of adjustable tables for those in a wheel chairs.
For more information about the new act, head to the Manitoba Disabilities Issues website.