Li Ka Shing (LKS) Library @ Singapore Management University
DATE : 12Oct 2011 (Wed)  TIME:  2.00-4.00pm


During the visit, I was hosted by Ms Yeo Pin Pin (Head Info Services/Research Lib Social Sciences) and  Mr Rajen Munoo (Head Instructional Services & Research Librarian)

Goals and users
The Li Ka Shing Library’s main focus is on providing the Singapore Management University faculty, staff, undergraduate and post graduate students with quality library services, facilities and access to information that support and enhance their research, teaching and learning activities.

The library is the first point of instruction where research and information literacy skills are taught by a team of dedicated instructional cum research librarians. Their key role is to support the teaching faculty and students in their research and project work needs.

The collection
The library’s collection focuses primarily on resources in the fields of Law, Social Sciences, Accountancy, Economics and Lifestyle collection. LKS has print and non print resources such as databases, articles, e-journals, e-examination and InK (Institutional Knowledge at SMU). The set of powerpoint slides showcases some of the facilities provided by the library.

Learning points
One significant learning from the dialogue and sharing is the library’s strength in providing instructional services to SMU’s students at all levels. There is a team of strong and passionate instructional cum research librarians each of whom provides dedicated services to the following faculties namely, Accountancy, Business, Economics, Information systems, Law and Social Sciences. These instructional librarians designs and post research guides to aid the faculty and students in their respective area of responsibility. Besides the rich array of research guides, I am most impressed by the structured instructional services offered. In SMU, the instructional team designs, develops and delivers training programmes for the SMU community which includes students, faculty and staff. Comprising of professional staff with domain and subject knowledge, the instructional programmes equip students with lifelong learning skills during their academic journey and beyond SMU.

The team advocates embedding information, research and media literacies skills in their programmes.

Instructional pyramid
The diagram below provides an overview of the various instructional programmes provided by instructional and research librarians over the course of 15 weeks term. The sessions 1-4 described below are planned to provide just-in-time assistance to support students’ research needs.

1)  Matriculation: Library Orientation
The research librarians initiate a compulsory library orientation programme of about an hour duration and introduce the new undergraduates to  the use of the digital library (PYXIS). About 1,700 students are taught the use of e-journals, e-resources and books through a hands-on session in groups of 30. The library conducts a total of 50 sessions over 3 days. Such hands-on sessions are unlike the common mass briefing in lecture theatres conducted by most other tertiary institutions. This I believe makes their programme for effective in reaching out to the students.

2) Customised In- Class Course Related Training Sessions
Research librarians work collaboratively with subject faculty to customize in-class session aligned to course outlines. Students are introduced to authoritative resources useful and specific to their class. Students are shown alternative sources beyond Google and Wikipedia. During the session, students are also introduced to their respective faculty research librarians. Through such concerted efforts, the success rate in reaching out to students to use evaluated quality resources will definitely be higher. In SMU, the research librarians are proactive in creating and promoting the use of Research Guides (key resources tied to the course) during their in-class sessions. Such attempts at guiding and bringing resources closer to the students, I feel, is commendable efforts on the part of the research librarians.

3) Thematic Sessions
These sessions initiated by research librarians are organized based on popular topics and are offered nearer to assignment or term paper submission period. These sessions are targeted at students who had missed the in-class session or those in need of a refresher course.

4) Research Consultation
These are individual or small group facilitation sessions initiated by students with the research librarians.  Students are able to book research consultation sessions in order to obtain advice on resources needed for their research topics or term projects.

The various just-in-time instructional services at SMU struck me as one distinctive quality of the library services which sets them apart from other academic libraries visited. Their structured and just-in-time instructional approach is a good model to emulate and is certainly a useful idea for me to consider trying out in my school library.