By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

School of Information Studies (iSchool) MLIS alumna Anne Burke, of North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries, has been named a recipient of the 2012 Association of College Research Libraries College Libraries Section ProQuest Innovation in College Librarianship Award.

Burke, along with NCSU library team members Adrienne Lai and Adam Rogers, developed an innovative and dynamic application to orient students to the library and its services. NCSU Mobile Scavenger Hunt combines the use of the iPod Touch and the free application, Evernote. It prompts students to different areas of the library to complete tasks or to answer questions, and their responses are submitted in real time via text or photographs.

The award committee described the application as “an interactive, collaborative and innovative approach to library orientation…that can be easily replaced by other libraries, both large and small.” 

Like many innovations, the project “grew out of little more than a conversation and an idea,” and was completed through the shared interests of the team members, Anne explained. Anne’s interests as the undergraduate instruction and outreach librarian have been on “getting students to feel that the library is their space, and to feel comfortable asking a librarian for help.” Teammates Adam Rogers, who now serves as emerging technology services librarian, has focused on curricular integration of new technologies. Adrienne Lai, a library fellow in the Learning Commons and Special Collections Research Center, has been working on wayfinding and spatial orientation to the library.

While the team initially reviewed standard products such as SCVNGR, they discovered that geo-located apps were designed for large geographic areas, so were not well suited to a hunt inside a single building. Without a development budget, Evernote, as a free app, also seemed a good solution, Anne said.

Using the NCSU Library Mobile Scavenger Hunt, students come to the library for an instruction session, spending just a few minutes in the classroom. They are divided into teams, each getting an iPod Touch and a list of 15 questions to answer. Students submit answers to the questions as notes in their Evernote notebooks. These are shared with the library’s Evernote account, which allows librarians to review and score answers by the time students return from the hunt.

Challenges of the project have included “trying to accommodate the number of requests” received, Anne noted.  To expand capacity, the library has brought in we have brought several library science graduate students and learning commons work-study students.

The annual award, with a prize of $3,000, recognizes an American Library Association member who has demonstrated a capacity for innovation in their work with undergraduates, instructors and/or the library community.