BIBLIOGRAPHIC INSTRUCTION FOR MUSEUM DOCENTS: THE ROLE OF THE MUSEUM LIBRARY IN MUSEUM EDUCATION

Download BIBLIOGRAPHIC INSTRUCTION FOR MUSEUM DOCENTS: THE ROLE OF THE MUSEUM LIBRARY IN MUSEUM EDUCATION

Post on 11-Jan-2017

213 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

<ul><li><p>BIBLIOGRAPHIC INSTRUCTION FOR MUSEUM DOCENTS: THE ROLE OF THE MUSEUM LIBRARYIN MUSEUM EDUCATIONAuthor(s): Laurie ReeseSource: Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, Vol. 5,No. 4 (Winter 1986), pp. 153-155Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Art Libraries Society of NorthAmericaStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27947659 .Accessed: 11/06/2014 03:45</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>The University of Chicago Press and Art Libraries Society of North America are collaborating with JSTOR todigitize, preserve and extend access to Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of NorthAmerica.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 91.229.229.24 on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 03:45:33 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucpresshttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=arlisnahttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=arlisnahttp://www.jstor.org/stable/27947659?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Art Documentation, Winter, 1986 153 </p><p>port their efforts to encourage student attendance. They enjoy bringing visitors to the library who are made to feel welcome, and this projects a positive image of the institu tion. Also, the project provides a non-routine task and a challenge for a resourceful staff member. Our staff who routinely attend lectures also found them to yield, beyond the stimulation of the presentation, collection development input and recognition as a peer by faculty and teaching assistants. This visibility of library staff is strongly encour aged by the library administration, which has been recep tive to the benefits of the new exhibition program. </p><p>In such a short time, this collaborative activity has be come such an integral part of our services that I cannot conceive of its being discontinued. In spite of Coswell's claim that library exhibits are labor intensive and time con suming,7 for us, the returns are high for minimal prepara tion and staff time. </p><p>There is no doubt that an administration less concerned with maintaining consistency of service throughout the li brary system would enable a librarian to develop more client-centered services. The instances listed above illus trate how branch librarians who are sensitive to the special nature of their patron community can initiate services </p><p>which originate from an evaluation of the particular user population, its expressed or implicit needs, and respond to faculty input. None of these services represents a major expense, merely an alertness to using available resources to their full extent. </p><p>The location of the branch library near the studio and classrooms assimilates the librarian and library staff into the climate of creative activity. Physical distance from the main library, although it may hamper communication, also enables the librarian to assume a different perspective on the services needed in the branch environment. ACRL's fifth standard for college libraries could alone justify the ser vices outlined here: "The library shall establish and main tain a range and quality of services that will promote the academic program of the institution and encourage optimal library use."8 The need to present, rationalize and defend proposed service changes to the library administration may place the branch librarian in a precarious position at times, and a strong conviction is needed to take the steps which will secure administrative approval. This conviction has to stem from a secure assessment of one's professional val ues, standards and philosophy. "Taking time to become conscious of what we believe and value about our work can give us the vision and the strength to render effective ser vice and create a social context that promotes the ideals we hold for our particular library."9 </p><p>Micheline Nilsen University of Pennsylvania </p><p>(formerly Montana State University) </p><p>FOOTNOTES ""Philip Pacey, "How Art Students Use Libraries," in A Reader in Art Librarian </p><p>ship, ed. by Philip Pacey (New York: K. G. Saur, 1985), p. 53. 2|bid., p. 54. </p><p>3|bid., p. 54 </p><p>?Ibid., p. 54. </p><p>5Lucy S. Caswell, "Building Strategy for Academic Library Exhibits," College and Research Libraries News 46:4 (April 1985): 165-68. 6Jane Kemp, "Creating Exhibits in the Smaller Academic Library," College and Research Libraries News 46:7 (July </p><p>- August 1985): 344-46. </p><p>7Caswell, op. cit., p. 165. 8Association of College and Research Libraries. College Library Standards Committee, College and Research Libraries News 47:3 (March 1986): 189 </p><p>- 200. 9Michael O. Engle, "Librarianship as Calling: The Philosophy of College Librarianship," The Journal of Academic Librarianship 12:1 (March 1986): 30-32. </p><p>I I BIBLIOGRAPHIC INSTRUCTION FOR MUSEUM DOCENTS: THE ROLE OF THE MUSEUM LIBRARY IN MUSEUM EDUCATION </p><p>As information specialists, museum librarians anticipate and respond to the needs of individual user groups and promote learning within the museum. Their libraries have the potential to serve gli members of the museum staff involved with exhibition preparation and interpretation. Mu seums communicate information to visitors, and museum libraries communicate information to those representatives </p><p>who go, in one way or another, before the public. This paper analyzes the informational needs of one such </p><p>group of these representatives, the docents, and calls for the establishment of programs of bibliographic instruction by museum librarians in response to these needs. Imple mentation of such programs focuses on what docents need to know and what information they need to find rather than on determining what they do or do not know about locating information in libraries. The paper is concerned not only </p><p>with what docents do, but with how they prepare to do what they do, and what role the museum library plays in this preparation. It is not a survey of current practices of museum library-docent activities across the country. Rather, it is a thought piece. It considers the museum li brary's relationship to the overall educational mission of the museum by investigating docent interaction with the museum library. What are the informational needs of do cents? What instructional strategies are most effective for docents in a museum library setting? </p><p>RELATED LITERATURE ABOUT MUSEUM LIBRARIES AND MUSEUM EDUCATION </p><p>Use of the museum library by non-curational personnel is a topic that receives little attention in either library or mu seum literature.1 Nor is there precedent for considering a museum library's role in bibliographic instruction for mu seum staff.2 Museum education research into the function and training of docents has failed to consider library use and the research activities of docents,3 or to argue that library training and the efficient searching of information </p><p>are necessary to a docent's performance.4 Docents are all but absent from guides to the literature of art.5 When museum librarians undertake a literature review of instructional programs, they will come upon one important </p><p>work, User Education in Art and Design: Theory into Practice, edited by Mike Avann and Kath Wood, which describes in structional services art librarians offer to a variety of user groups, such as architecture students and students of fash ion design.6 They will find articles dealing with academic libraries and their users, from chemistry and engineering students, to those of law, business, and medicine, but they will find they lack a model on which to develop unique </p><p>instructional programs for their own users. Articles that go on at great length about the importance </p><p>of museum education often fail to include even the briefest mention of the museum library.7 The time has come to remedy such an omission and broadcast the special ser vices we art librarians provide to our diverse user popula tions. The time has come to make explicit such important connections as that between the museum library and mu seum education, an issue which affects the larger consid eration of how the communication of information flows throughout a museum. </p><p>THE INFORMATIONAL NEEDS OF DOCENTS Booth, Krockover, and Woods define a docent as an "inte </p><p>gral part" of a museum's function. By sharing information, by functioning as teacher, facilitator, and interpreter, the docent attempts to make a particular exhibit more mean ingful to museum visitors.8 An important part of the do </p><p>This content downloaded from 91.229.229.24 on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 03:45:33 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>154 Art Documentation, Winter, 1986 </p><p>cent's role is "to help the visitor critically examine and ana lyze museum objects and exhibitions for information."9 But </p><p>where do docents go for information? How are they taught to evaluate works of art? How do they encourage museum visitors to evaluate objects in a museum's collection? How do they sharpen their own observational and analytical skills? </p><p>Docents work with art; they also work with people. Their information needs fall into two categories: factual and in terpersonal. They need information about particular artists, periods of art history, styles, schools, techniques, termi nology, and iconography. Docents communicate all this information by applying appropriate touring techniques to different visitor groups. </p><p>In developing and implementing a program of bibli ographic instruction for docents, museum librarians must consider the unique characteristics of each museum docent group. What is the size of the group? What experience do docents have in doing art historical research? How familiar are they with using a library? In what kind of museum do they operate: art, natural history, science and technology, etc.? Museum librarians should assist in establishing goals of docent programs and presentations. What requirements must docents fulfill before giving tours? Are tours informal or highly structured? Is docent preparation for tours mostly oral or written, and are docents evaluated on the basis of both oral as well as written (research) skills? Careful atten tion to these questions will ensure a more effective integra tion of the theory and practice of bibliographic instruction </p><p>within the museum library. </p><p>BIBLIOGRAPHIC INSTRUCTION AND THE MUSEUM LIBRARY </p><p>The literature of bibliographic instruction is filled with strategies, models, theories, and definitions, all of which attempt to answer what bibliographic instruction is and what its specific characteristics are.10 Bibliographic instruc tion involves learning theory: How can a variety of users be taught in ways that effectively and appropriately respond to their individual informational needs? Bibliographic instruc tion encompasses the identification of information, its gathering, and its use. It considers a particular audience within a particular setting, and it shows this audience how to use the library, how to do research, and how to locate information in response to stated needs. Although knowledge of library organization and particu </p><p>lar reference tools and of the process of finding information is essential to any program of bibliographic instruction, </p><p>more is involved than the creation of an educational pro gram for an identified user group. Breivik divides the plan ning of such a program into ten areas: the rationale for, the politics of, the need for establishing goals and objectives, meeting the needs of the groups to be served, setting pri orities, characteristics of quality instruction, contents selec tion and timing, evaluation, staffing resources, and public relations.11 </p><p>Librarians should determine why implementation of such a program will be beneficial. How important are library skills to the function of the user group identified, and does this group think it requires library instruction to do its job? Once librarians have answered these questions, they can better justify the value of bibliographic instruction to mu seum administrators and professional educators. The goal of bibliographic instruction for docents is to pro mote library use and to enrich docent performance through the effective use of library materials and interaction with information. Librarians can employ numerous methodol ogies to these ends, from tours, group and self-paced, to lectures, handouts, and forms of programmed instruc tion. Individual components of instruction may vary, but all must be relevant to user needs at the time they are offered, integrated with a particular course of study, and of use </p><p>when applied in other situations. In the case of the museum library, goals and objectives of user education must be con sistent with the requirements and specific projects of the overall docent training program. A program that encour ages and demands library use in the preparation of scripts </p><p>and tours reinforces the relevance of the museum library to museum education. </p><p>Bibliographic instruction will put docents in touch with information out of which tour themes can develop. It identi fies the museum library as an information center within the museum, one staffed by information specialists who over see a collection developed for the benefit of all involved with exhibit preparation and interpretation. Ultimately, such a program satisfies the needs of the museum public. If this audience can feel confident about the information it re ceives, and if it can witness fine preparation and communi cation skills on the part of museum docents, surely it is plausible that this audience will translate its favorable im pressions into support for the museum that is both psycho logical and monetary. "Education, properly conceived," says Laura Chapman in her article, "The Future and Museum Education," "is built on trustworthy knowledge organized for the purpose of educating the public."12 </p><p>A PROPOSED PROGRAM OF BIBLIOGRAPHIC INSTRUCTION FOR MUSEUM DOCENTS </p><p>Docents should not pass up the chance to prepare for their tours by utilizing their museum library after they have spent time in their museum's galleries. The museum library can augment the docents' visual experience by providing them with verbal and visual information, by presenting sources of factual information and reproductions. </p><p>Before docents get to know the library, however, li brarians should get to know the docents and evaluate infor mational needs based on observation. Librarians shou...</p></li></ul>