A Library Adventure: Comparing a Treasure Hunt with a Traditional Freshman Orientation Tour

Sandra Marcus, Sheila Beck

Abstract

This study addresses finding the best means of introducing incoming freshmen to the library and the skills and concepts of information literacy. The results of a traditional librarian-led orientation tour are compared with those of a self-guided treasure hunt. As part of an Introduction to College Life course in a multicultural community college, students in classes selected randomly participated in the alternate forms of orientation. Identical questionnaires, completed by all participants, contained both a test of learning objectives and an attitude survey. Statistical analysis of the test results and highly positive feedback indicated an educational advantage in the self-guided tour, supporting active learning theories. The study also demonstrates the need for continuing experimentation, innovation, and creativity in orientation tour design, as well as the value of such introductory tours, enhancing both comfort level and skill in library use.

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