Your student works in a privileged school district.  Most schools around
here purchase materials & bib records from a vendor, and have no "district
cataloger" for items lacking copy cataloging (e.g., gifts, the PTO
cookbook).  I've team-taught Cataloging and Classification at Rutgers
SCILS several times, and recently saw several former students who are
working at public and school libraries.  All of them told me how valuable
the cataloging course was to them, and that they didn't realize how much
they'd have to use it in their jobs.  (None of them are full time
catalogers.)  One student said she had to do original cataloging of local
histories and cookbooks in her local library.  We had a good laugh at that
one because I typically give them an "original cataloging" exam to catalog
a cookbook I picked up while traveling to Atlanta a few years ago.  So
far, it hasn't showed up on OCLC or RLIN.  Students in class often
questioned why I gave them such an oddball title.  That gave me the
opportunity to talk about shared cataloging & what doesn't get shared:
things that are very local!

Another student doesn't have to catalog books, but there is no copy for
many of the videos and DVDs her school library gets.  Since she is "it,"
she had to create bib records for them.  They might not be as elaborate --
or as elegant -- as a career cataloger's, but I'm sure they are accurate
and complete for her school's students.

At the beginning of my classes, I acknowledge that only one or two of them
will be career catalogers.  But I emphasize the importance of knowing
cataloging rules, etc. for all the activities that go on in a library,
from making recommendations about the OPAC screen display, indexing in the
online catalog, helping patrons understand what they've found in the
catalog -- and improving communication with the Cataloging Department!  If
they know what to ask for, they're more likely to get it!

I hope this helps,
Rhonda Marker
Head, Cataloging Department
Rutgers University Libraries

> Hello, Everyone.
> I have recently completed a 6 week Summer Session teaching
> "Classification and Cataloging of Information Resources". This is an
> introductory catalgoing course we teach here in the College of Education
> for students interested in becoming certified school library media
> specialists (school librarians) in the state of Georgia.
> As someone who received his professional education in a graduate School
> of Library and Information Science (University of Pittsburgh SLIS/SIS
> '92, '00), and pratical training in a number of academic libraries, I am
> keenly aware of the value of learning both the theory and practice
> associated with librarianship in general and cataloging in particular.
> Unfortunately, in my student evaluations from the most recent
> iteration of this course, I was asked by a number of these students to
> severely curtail my effort in the teaching of both bibliographic
> description and classification theory in future courses.
> Among the sentiments that are expressed by the students to support
> their contentations were the following:
> " I do not understand why I have to take this course...what is the
> point of learning AACR2 and Dewey classification? All of the technical
> services for the media centers (school libraries) in our school district
> is (will be) done at a central a media specialist I will
> not do original cataloging...why do I need to know this stuff?..."
> Although I have yet to receive the set of student evaluations from this
> Summer's class, I will teach another section of this course in the Fall
> Semester.
> I have sent this message to this list to garner some ideas and advice
> from the members of EDUCAT regarding some proven ways to teach this
> subject effectively to aspiring school library media specialists given
> the scenario and sentiments that were outlined above.
> I would appreciate any tips, suggestions, approaches you may be willing
> to share to both deliver course content more effectively and provide a
> better learning experience for my students in what is perceived (by
> them) as a "hard" class.
> In closing, I would also like to publicly acknowledge Drs. Lois Mai
> Chan and Arlene G. Taylor for their assistance in my teaching of this
> material. Your textbooks have helped a number of my students "see the
> light" and , for some, to seriously consider careers as catalogers and
> "real" librarians.
> -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
> Edward C. Lomax, Ph.D.
> Department of Middle/Secondary Education and Instructional Technology
> Room 636 College of Education
> Georgia State University
> Atlanta, GA 30303
> (404) 651-0188 (voice)
> (404) 651-2546 (fax)
> email: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>