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3rd Academic Libraries Invitational: Ethnography in Our Backyard

April 28, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Ethnography is the study of cultural beliefs, values and attitudes in a selected population.  Comprehensive ethnography does more than report on data collected but interprets the context of the data by unraveling the “webs of meaning” (Geertz, 1973*). Ethnographic studies performed by academic, school, and public libraries can effectively inform decision-making about services, space, instruction, technology use and much more.

This event will be of interest to those wishing to learn more about the library use of students attending some Long Island academic institutions, how this information may be used at their library, as well as those considering a similar study. Ultimately the expectation is for libraries to enhance their students’ overarching success as well as strengthen the library’s role within the greater learning community.

Local Culture: An Ethnographic Perspective on Student Research and Study Practices
by Kim Mullins and Natalia Tomlin

This presentation focuses on a large scale ethnographic study at Long Island University’s Post and Brooklyn campuses. The goal of the project was to better understanding student study and research processes in an effort to design learning environments and research services that were more responsive to their needs. The project utilized a robust mixed-methods design that spanned from fall 2012 to summer 2013, consisting of a 1182 student survey responses, 32 hours of unobtrusive observations, and 30 in-depth student interviews. Several strategic actions, including changes to the curriculum, space, and services have been completed or are being pursued based on the findings.

Kim Mullins is an Assistant Professor and Instructional Design Librarian at the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, Long Island University Post and Adjunct Professor for the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. She received her MLIS from LIU Post and MS in Instructional Design from New York Institute of Technology. Kim has published and presented on her IDEA (interview, design, embed, assess) instruction design model for librarians. Her research interests include instructional design, cognitive load theory, and neuroplasticity.

Natalia Tomlin is an Associate Professor and Technical Services Librarian at the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, Long Island University Post. She also serves as a Coordinator for Digital Commons @ LIU institutional repository. Natalia has more than ten years of librarianship experience in the field of cataloging and bibliographic control. She served as is a guest lecturer at the Palmer and Pratt schools of Library and Information Science and is an author and co-author of several research articles published in leading LIS journals. Her research interests include metadata curation and digital repository architecture.

Library Study Behaviors in the Age of Ubiquitous Mobile Devices: An Observational Study in Four Academic Libraries
by Tara King & Claudia McGivney

This presentation focuses on a large-scale ethnographic study conducted at four academic libraries on Long Island, NY. This study used an unobtrusive direct observation method and was conducted during the spring 2013 semester.  A total of 2,773 students were observed at four post-secondary institutions. The goal of the project was to better understand student behaviors in the library in an effort to help librarians make decisions to engage their students, adapt spaces, allocate resources, and to gather data on unique institutional cultures, needs, and practices. The results indicated whether students had a mobile device readily available and where students chose to study in the library best predicted whether they demonstrated a study, as opposed to a non-study, behavior.

Tara King is an Instructional Designer at St. John’s University and Adjunct Professor for the Division of Library and Information Science within St. John’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She received her MLIS from LIU Post. Tara has presented on her instructional design of online faculty development courses for St. John’s University. Her research interests include learning theory, curriculum design, student engagement, and information literacy instruction.

Claudia McGivney is the Head of Academic Engagement at Stony Brook University. She holds a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science from LIU Post, a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Hofstra University, and is currently working on a Ph.D. in Literacy at Hofstra University. Her research interests include anime and graphic novels in higher education, digital literacies, and reflective practice.

*Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures: Selected essays. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Sponsored by: Long Island Library Resources Council (LILRC), NCLA Academic and Special Libraries Division (ASLD), SCLA Division of Academic and Special Libraries (DASL) and Suffolk County Community College.

No Charge–RSVP Online: https://goo.gl/forms/HAJD7eC9zYl48t7O2


April 28, 2017
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Event Category:


Christina Rivera, Special Projects Librarian
(631) 675-1570 x:205


Member Fee
Nonmember Fee
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CEU Certificate
No Charge