On 23 and 24 August, cadets enrolled in the Center for Enhanced Performance’s RS 100 course spent some very active time in the Jefferson Hall, finding their way from one service point to another and learning about Library resources, services, and staff along the way. The Library Poker Runs are designed to get cadets familiar with the people here at the Library who can help them in their studies, and with the resources they can use to complete the assignments they’ll have throughout their time at West Point.
Cadets are given a checklist of locations (the Welcome/Circulation Desk, Info Desk/Reference Librarian/Print Stations, and the home of ourUnique Resources collection and staff – newly relocated to the West Point Room in Bartlett Hall North) and are directed to complete a task at each checkpoint.
The tasks help the plebes learn a multitude of research-related skills, such as how to search within our collections using Scout! – the Library’s discovery tool; how to renew books online; what to do when the Library doesn’t have an article or book they need (hint: Inter-Library Loan!); and the difference between primary and secondary sources. A highlight of the Poker Run is a visit to the Unique Collections and USMA Archives in the West Point Room, where this semester they saw Custer’s demerits (all six pages of them!), the West Point Post Order book that included an account of Edgar Allan Poe’s court-martial, and Civil War-era maps by Jeremy Gilmer (USMA 1939).
After completing each task, the cadets draw a card, and the cadet team with the best poker hand at the end of class wins a prize from their instructor. Over 100 cadets participated in these Poker Runs, and judging from discussions with them at the end of class, everyone learned something new that they felt would help them throughout their academic career at West Point.
Narrative by Laura Mosher, Cadet Engagement Librarian; photos by Barbara Maroney, Facilities Support Technician.