On Tuesday I went to the hospital for pre-surgery testing. Upon arrival, I was asked to complete a four-page medical history. Among the lines about previous surgeries (appendix and tonsils when I was a kid) and about medications I regularly take (none), I found the following question.
Do you learn best by: 1) reading, 2) video, 3) listening, 4) demonstration?
I was uncertain how to answer, as I learn by all of those methods frequently. I have never had my abilities to learn ranked. Instead of totally skipping the question, I wrote to the side, "It depends on the subject." I thought the topic might then come up in the interview that followed, but it did not.
I assume that the question was asked so I can get effective self-care information. I think that I would like to get a combination of the four instruction methods. Before or after the surgery, I will have time to watch a video about my surgery and caring for my incision. I will listen to anything the doctors and nurses say. (I doubt they have recorded audio instruction.) I hope they demonstrate exactly how to do whatever it is I have to do. I will gladly take home reference material to remind me what it is I have to do.
Our clients would also like instruction from all four categories in our libraries. We do well having print material to read, but we sometimes fall short on the audio and video material. I try to keep (I sometimes slip) a list of requested items that my library did not have. Many of the items on the list are video related: a DVD on pioneer women of Kansas, a video on Anthony of Egypt, a video on the Tower of London, a DVD on Irish soccer stars, a DVD for mandolin instruction, and so forth. The expectation that we will have these materials is growing, sometimes fueled by class assignments that require a bit of video in the final presentation.
We use interlibrary loan more now than ever before, and getting video material is part of the trend. Unfortunately for us, there are still some libraries that will not loan video material. In some schools and colleges, the videos are on reserve for class assignments, which is understandable. In other cases, libraries want to keep their small number of videos and DVDs local. Whatever, we have some difficulties getting what is requested.
The other problem is that our clients request materials that do not exist. There is no profit to be made by making videos of some of the specific topics for which we are asked.
We are slowing shifting our budgets to buy more audio and video material. Whether we ever have a building as full of DVDs as books may depend on what happens on the Internet. Will higher transmission speeds foster more content that will be readily available for public use at a reasonable cost? Will libraries be left out of the loop? It is hard to say. I suspect our collections will never fully meet our users expectations, but we can try.
Back to my body. It may never meet my expectations either. On Friday, I have outpatient surgery for an inguinal hernia. I may not be posting for a few days. Wish me well.