Hello, Anybody Out There? How to Improve Outreach Efforts and Build Positive Relationships for Your Academic Instruction Program

management of instruction services, instruction section, acrl

Summary of Discussions at Individual Tables


Outreach to Undergraduates

  • Brochure about library resources and services distributed in libraries, during instruction sessions and at campus information fairs
  • Place ads for the library in unusual places (busses, bathrooms�)
  • During orientation, do a mystery tour based on something in college history. Have clues to find throughout the library. One clue is provided on videotape by a faculty member. Takes 30-45 minutes. Required part of orientation.
  • Freshmen have a workbook as part of the First Year Experience program. Workbook includes a basic introduction to the library and a tutorial about how to search the library catalog.
  • Integrate the library into the freshman composition course. Have 4 sessions with a librarian:
    1. Librarian visits class for 10 minutes to introduce self and give out tips sheet.
    2. Students get a library tour
    3. Consultations with a librarian
    4. Searching class
  • Had a poster contest where students could create a poster to show the library in a different light. Then students voted on submissions and winners’ posters ideas were made into posters and hung around campus.
  • Create a video orientation tour and made it available for use in classrooms.
  • At beginning of semester, go to classes (focusing on language lit classes such as German lit, French lit, etc.) and introduce self and show some tips and tricks.
  • Library lockdown, co-sponsored by Residence Life: Students enter in teams of 2 then from 10pm – 2am, they are in the library and have to answer a series of questions which require they use the library. Whichever team answers the most correct in the least amount of time wins a spring break trip (courtesy of Residence Life).
  • Open House during opening week including food, tours, handouts and a laptop available to show things to students
    Program featuring a book-based movie, with pizza, popcorn� compare book to film adapatation
  • 4 day orientation to the University, with parents on campus: offer tours during this time period, have a table at the orientation with library materials
  • Promotional items such as door-hangers, temporary tattoos (also see ‘cool marketing tips’ section of this document)�
    MySpace: Created a MySpace profile for the library and invited students from institution to join. Post events, research tips, etc.


Outreach to Graduate Students

Where to reach them:

  1. Graduate Student Government – send them messages, get on their list servs, attend their meetings
    • One university had a grad student council library committee
    • Another had librarians on a student library committee that attended grad student council meetings
  2. Course management software
    • Try to gain a presence in class CMS pages
    • UC Davis is creating their own CMS, and librarians are involved in the process of building it
  3. In Their Departments
    • Some grad departments have ‘checklists’ for what their grads have to accomplish/learn – try to become part of that checklist
    • Find grad program coordinator in dept, work with them.
  4. Campus teaching excellence office (ex. - Center For Teaching Effectiveness)
    • These offices often have programs for prepping grad students to teach
    • UC Santa Cruz – the library was involved with teaching assessment of research assignments
    • UT Austin – teach classes on how to create research assignments, plagiarism, and how to teach students web research skills
  5. Teaching Assistants and Assistant Instructors for undergraduate programs
    • Grad students often do this – good place to outreach
    • Teach the teacher program – especially in areas like basic English Comp classes – teach them how to teach research to their undergrads

Outreach ideas:

  • Copyright Issues/Intellectual Property class – one person made a video about these topics and played it before and after their End Note classes
  • Distance Ed grad students often see the library most through the ILL page – this is a good place for outreach to them
  • Hold an open grad student orientation at the beginning of the year with food
  • In specific example, it was most heavily attended by Arts/Humanities grads – 80-90 attended.
  • Get testimonials from grad students on how the library helped them; use in marketing
  • Graduate student lounge in the library


Working with Nonacademic Departments

  1. Build one-on-one connections
    • Introduce yourself to people in other departments (e.g., Office of Multicultural Affairs, President’s Office, Information Technology, University Relations, Learning Centers, etc.) and share with them what you and the library can do to help (e.g., answer copyright questions, conduct market research, provide access to journal articles in their areas of interest, etc.)
    • Join cross-functional committees (e.g., Talent Development Pre-Matriculation Program, First Year Experience, Residential Life, etc.)
    • Assign library liaisons to non-academic departments, (e.g., Center for International Students, Human Resources, etc.)
  2. Go where the users are
    • Give presentations to student groups including commuters (tell them about the library’s remote services)
    • Set up a table at student move in day events and introduce yourself to both students and parents (bring a laptop, DVDs, and handouts and encourage students to sign up for a library orientation)
    • Give a presentation about the library as part of the university’s orientation for new staff
    • Train peer tutors in the Writing Center
    • Outreach to athletes through coaches


Partnering with Faculty

  • Attend faculty meetings
  • If you can’t get invited to their meetings, offer them meeting space at the library
  • Build strong liaison programs
  • Create and distribute to faculty handouts of library instruction services
  • Create blogs to keep faculty informed (email notice when blog is updated)
  • Have instruction classes in the library (to raise library profile in eyes of faculty)
  • For instruction sessions, create a list of appropriate annotated
  • Cultivate contacts with (target) individual faculty (to build grass-roots support for instruction)
  • Hold library office hours in the departments (outside of library); bring service to faculty
  • Make library orientation required of all new faculty
  • Attend staff development seminars in the departments (outside of library) to increase visibility of librarian
  • Become involved in curriculum development either at the course level or the committee level
  • Organize non-academic activities with faculty
  • Host faculty book talks, book signings & book groups featuring faculty works


Cool Marketing Ideas

  • Dunk A Librarian – “Think Tank” free @ an outdoor event
  • Positive comments of students with their pictures featured on Library homepage
  • Lost Booth – handout out maps of campus outside Library during Orientation days
  • Stump the Librarian prize
  • Action Librarian trading cards – superhero powers
  • Advertise in student newspaper – playing around with Librarian stereotype
  • Book cart drill team (at Homecoming?)
  • Library logo tattoos – free handout
  • Free coffee at finals
  • Library day at football game
  • College librarian serves at ‘coach for a day’ for a sports team
  • Student exhibits at Library
  • Certificate Program – a partnership with library, IT and career planning to offer a certificate upon completion of courses
  • Carry brochures around with you whenever you leave the building
  • Make friends with college webmaster- put Library pages directly onto department webpage’s
  • Library space on Admissions Web portal: once admitted, library resources available.


Outreach to adjunct faculty or to teaching assistants

Be proactive:

  • Visit offices
  • Attend department meetings
  • Check with office secretary in order to identify and locate adjunct faculty
  • Take advantage of departmental listservs
  • Build on reference interactions
  • Respond to student assignments
  • Attend social events
  • Offer to provide an information literacy track to existing teaching assistant education programs.
  • Build relationships
  • Find advocates within the department
  • Offer adjuncts some collection money
  • Take an adjunct to lunch


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