Presentation Title

“Down the Up Staircase”: First-Year Students Discover the Archives

Location

Room 218/220

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

“What makes you think you’re so special? Just because you’re a teacher? What he was really saying was: You are so special. You are my teacher. Then teach me, help me, Hey, Teach, I’m lost—which way do I go? I’m tired of going up the down staircase.” ― Bel Kaufman, Up the Down Staircase

First-year students coming to the library may be introduced to services and attend information literacy sessions, but how many venture downstairs to the archives? This presentation describes the sustained collaboration between a composition professor and a special collections librarian who have designed a community-focused, inquiry-driven course that builds academic writing proficiency and information literacy. Within their first year at Auburn University, our students discover the rich resources lying beneath the main library in Special Collections and Archives. When students experience this welcoming, productive space first-hand, they have the opportunity to hone their research and writing skills while discovering the little-known human and material resources that special collections and archives affords.

Scaffolded assignments give practice in generating meaningful topics, practicing and selecting methods, selecting and integrating sources, solving problems, and reflecting on progress. Students have cited benefits such as authority, relevance, engagement, serendipity, professionalism, and project management. In addition to bridging archival intelligence, composition and information literacy, the authors are guiding lower- and upper-division students in designing and curating a digital archive showcasing student work and archival holdings, portraying archives as spaces for deeper student understandings of self, school, and society.

Presentation Description

This presentation describes the collaboration between a composition professor and a special collections librarian who have designed a course that builds both academic writing proficiency and information literacy. Within their first year at Auburn University, our students discover the rich resources in Special Collections and Archives. Students experiencing this welcoming, productive space first-hand have the opportunity to hone their research and writing skills while discovering the little-known human and material resources that special collections and archives affords.

Session Goals

Show to attendees that undergraduate engagement with the archives and special collections is feasible, rewarding, and aligned with information literacy goals.

Session Objectives

Attendees will take away ideas for engaging Special Collections and Archives in information literacy and composition courses.

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 28th, 10:00 AM Sep 28th, 10:20 AM

“Down the Up Staircase”: First-Year Students Discover the Archives

Room 218/220

“What makes you think you’re so special? Just because you’re a teacher? What he was really saying was: You are so special. You are my teacher. Then teach me, help me, Hey, Teach, I’m lost—which way do I go? I’m tired of going up the down staircase.” ― Bel Kaufman, Up the Down Staircase

First-year students coming to the library may be introduced to services and attend information literacy sessions, but how many venture downstairs to the archives? This presentation describes the sustained collaboration between a composition professor and a special collections librarian who have designed a community-focused, inquiry-driven course that builds academic writing proficiency and information literacy. Within their first year at Auburn University, our students discover the rich resources lying beneath the main library in Special Collections and Archives. When students experience this welcoming, productive space first-hand, they have the opportunity to hone their research and writing skills while discovering the little-known human and material resources that special collections and archives affords.

Scaffolded assignments give practice in generating meaningful topics, practicing and selecting methods, selecting and integrating sources, solving problems, and reflecting on progress. Students have cited benefits such as authority, relevance, engagement, serendipity, professionalism, and project management. In addition to bridging archival intelligence, composition and information literacy, the authors are guiding lower- and upper-division students in designing and curating a digital archive showcasing student work and archival holdings, portraying archives as spaces for deeper student understandings of self, school, and society.