Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orientation: Outreach Starts Here

One of the colleges at my place of work (MPOW) had an orientation fair yesterday. For two hours, I got to pretend to be an extrovert, giving elevator speech after elevator speech to students new to our campus.
There are 369 incoming students in the college. In the first hour I talked to 38 of them as they made their way through the room, collecting stickers that are affixed to passports, later exchanged for all sorts of MPOW swag. Asking students what their favorite sticker color was a good ice-breaker, and I learned that people who like purple are very enthusiastic about it.

Lest one get the wrong impression, that this library is just dead tree storage, I brought a laptop, projector, and screen so I could demonstrate the library website. Students will be using that much more than print materials.

This is the first time we've done an orientation fair, with a variety of campus services all in one place, so I have no baseline to compare, but I'm pleased to have met with a tenth of the new students right away. Library staff will catch the far majority in library instruction sessions. I think it's important for the students to see a smiling, helpful face, to let them know that the library isn't an intimidating place, and that it's okay to ask for help.
The most common question first-year and transfer students asked was what kinds of books the library has. Our display was geared towards new releases that I'd label as "pop-academic." Nothing too heady, nothing that would make our academic administration blanch, as was the case when I suggested we buy The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books.

Seriously. People do not like the pants that travel around here.

Quite a few students asked about comics and graphic novels, and I had a five-minute chat with one about Jeff Smith's BONE series.

Other popular questions concerned fines and services co-located in the library building, such as tutoring, the math lab, and the writing center.

Finally, here is some social science.
Always bring food. Always.

Here's to a productive semester. Cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment