This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Discover Chicago program, and the John T. Richardson Library has mounted an exhibit highlighting the innovative freshman experiential learning program and the ways in which the Library supports the Chicago Quarter courses each year. The exhibit features books from the Library collection representing themes of Discover and Explore Chicago courses being taught this quarter. “The majority of the classes fell into four broad categories: Art; Ethnic Identities; Neighborhoods; and Politics/Community Action,” noted Morgen MacIntosh Hodgetts, Special Collections Instruction Librarian and staff professional in the Explore Chicago course Exploring the Renaissance in Chicago. The exhibit also includes descriptions of organizations with which DePaul partners in support of the Chicago-based courses offered each autumn quarter and which were featured in an earlier newsletter article, The Library and the City.
Librarians have participated on Discover and Explore Chicago teaching teams almost every year since the program’s inception, including such courses as Sacred Spaces-Powerful Places, Biking and Politics, Seeing Neighborhood Change, Chicago Music Scene, We the People: Chicago’s Newer Immigrant Communities, Chicago’s Historic Cemeteries, and Poverty Amid Plenty. Beginning this year the Chicago Quarter Common Hour curriculum includes an activity that introduces students to what might be their first experience in an academic library. The assignment uses the library catalog as a springboard to locate information about a book or video of their choice online which students then use to navigate the physical library to locate the item and bring it to class. It then asks them to describe their process with the goals of familiarizing them with the organization of information in the library and of making more transparent the information literacy skill of systematically accessing information (part of the DePaul University Learning Goals). Faculty interested in exploring other instruction opportunities provided by the Library should visit our Instruction page.