Lightning Talk: Program Description Abstract

Using a Poster and Survey Model to Reach New Heights at Library Orientation

Monday, May 6
2:05 PM - 2:10 PM
Room: Columbus KL (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Background : Although active learning techniques have the potential to enhance the learner’s experience, it can be difficult to efficiently and effectively incorporate them into unstructured events outside of the classroom such as an orientation fair. This presentation will show how we took a successful poster and survey activity used by academic medical librarians at a community career fair and then adapted it for graduate medical education orientation fairs. We designed a simple poster along with a short survey to help us actively connect with small groups of new medical residents while introducing them to library resources and services.

Description : Since 2011, librarians have participated at an annual community career fair. Despite being creative with themes at the fair, our exhibit was largely overlooked by disinterested students due to its lecture-based format until its redesign as an active learning poster and a short survey activity. The poster’s information and graphics did all the “talking” while students were asked to “help” the librarians by reading and critiquing the poster information using a short survey. The success of the poster and survey in the community encouraged us to try the same model with new medical residents at their orientation fair. The redesign prompted more questions and interesting conversations among residents and librarians than in the past. Preliminary review of three years of survey data has revealed an 80% survey completion rate with 100% satisfaction with the poster as an active learning tool.

Conclusion : Survey results suggest that the poster and survey model resulted in students retaining more information about the library resources and services while expressing greater satisfaction with this teaching format. Dana Medical librarians continue to use this active learning activity, to study its results, and to build on its success with other library presentations.


Gary S. Atwood

Health Sciences Education Librarian
University of Vermont
Burlington, Vermont

Gary S. Atwood, MA, MSLIS, is Health Sciences Education Librarian and Library Assistant Professor at Dana Medical Library at the University of Vermont. He is responsilbe for the coordination and assessment of the library's education program and online learning resources. In addition, he is liaison to several departments in UVM's Larner College of Medicine and the Department of Nursing and provides reference and research assistance to faculty, students, and clinicians. He is an active member of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc., the New England regional chapter of MLA, and currently chairs the Professional Development Committee and sits on the Executive Board. He is also a member of the MedEdPORTAL editorial board.


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Nancy A. Bianchi

Research & Education Librarian
University of Vermont Dana Medical Library
South Burlington, Vermont


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Using a Poster and Survey Model to Reach New Heights at Library Orientation

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