Cultivating Fallow Fields: A Program to Train Undergraduate Student Workers to Be Effective Communicators of Health Information Skills in an Academic Medical Library

Document Type


Publication Date



Objectives: The goal of this project is to: (1) identify key concepts public services workers need to know; (2) conduct a short training session with each worker; and (3) measure changes by a pre- and post-test. The training session focused on specific tasks that the worker may be asked to do in the course of their work.

Methods: East Tennessee State University (ETSU) librarians created a written test that covered specific library resources, policies, etc. The test was pilot tested. Each of the 7 student workers plus 2 regular public service workers were given a 1-hour one-on-one training class. A pre-and post- training exam was given. The results were then scored on a scale of 102.

Results: A paired t-test of the pre- and post-test showed a statistically significant difference at the 0.001 level.

Conclusions: We have mainly used undergraduate students to "baby sit" our library's front service desk. If they can be trained effectively, their (and our) value to patrons increases greatly. Often they are the main contact with patrons.


Chicago, IL

This document is currently not available here.