Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How Do You Learn Best? Material Types in Libraries

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.


ActLikeOne said...

I hope the surgery is a success and your recovery is speedy and painless.

Betsey B said...

I hope you have a speedy recovery and are soon back on your feet and on your blog. I always learn something new on your site and it's the best blog that I read on a regular basis. Hope all goes well.

Meredith said...

My husband had a hernia operation at this time last year and I hope your recovery is as simple and quick as his was. It's amazing what they can do laproscopically (sp?) these days and how much easier it is to recover from that kind of surgery. I hope your family takes very good care of you while you convalesce. Don't push yourself!!!

I will definitely be thinking good thoughts for you tomorrow, Rick. Please let us know that you're ok as soon as you feel able. Best wishes on a speedy recovery.

Maggie said...

Hope all is well!

Maggie said...

Oh, I learn by doing and that's not an option. Um, Thank God! Ew! :P

Susan C. said...

I hope the surgery went well, and best wishes for a speedy recovery. I always enjoy your posts and reviews, and have linked to some of them on our blog.

I definitely learn best by reading; sometimes video, a talk, or a demo is useful, but if I don't take notes, I won't remember any of it!

Nonanon said...

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those wishing you well. Here's hoping for a speedy and good recovery!