Beyond the Library’s Walls: Engaging Your Campus in Forward-Thinking Ways

March 30, 2015 / by Mango (PS)

It’s no secret that many students don’t know just how awesome their campus library really is and reaching them can be tough. Most walk through campus with their headphones on, looking down at their cell phones on a mission to get to their next class. And if not, they’re likely flirting with a fellow classmate or chasing after the campus crêpe truck. How do you break through the distractions to engage students with your library’s resources? We’ve got a few ideas to help you show your campus what you’ve got.

Develop a robust resources section on your website--and on mobile.

It’s almost a guarantee you’ll find most students researching your resources on their phones and computers before walking through your doors. So meet them where they are! Build out the resources section on your library’s website to provide students with listings of available tech tools and databases. Make sure that your site is mobile-compatible (overachievers may think about developing an app as well). In addition to building up your own web presence, leverage other platforms where students are likely paying attention. After all, Facebook was invented on a college campus! But in all seriousness, students are connected 24/7 through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more. Consider developing a presence for your library on these popular networks.

Create interesting content.

You and your fellow librarians are bursting at the seams with a wealth of knowledge on everything from the best way to enjoy a solar eclipse to how to use iMovie for a class project. Share that information. Setting up a library blog is a great way to get students engaged with the library and informed about the resources you have to offer. Write about best practices for drafting a research paper, little know facts about the campus library or a ‘day in the life’ series on your staff. Students will appreciate both the fun and more informative posts. Another digital way to share content and resources is through a podcast. Take a page from the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries’ book and begin a podcast about getting the most from your library. Creating interesting and relevant content is sure to get your students listening.

Have a campus presence.

Today, the library can extend so much further beyond your four walls. For example, try hosting a poetry reading night at a local coffee house or talk with student club presidents about providing resources or space for their programs. Once they are aware of what the library has to offer, they are likely to start sending students your way. Professors are another resource to tap into. When classes have research assignments, work with the professor to schedule five minutes at the beginning of a lecture for you to discuss how librarians can help. This is especially great for freshman courses to get those first years up to speed.

Connect your library to the campus mission.

What is your university’s overall mission? Are they seeking to become more global? To foster diversity? Whatever it may be, connect your library to the mission. If the college president is pushing for the campus to become more global, get on board! Implement programs at the library like ‘World Music Wednesday’ or freshen up your library’s offerings with new language and culture-learning programs such as Mango Languages. In connecting yourself with the campus mission, you are not only showing school pride, but you’re aligning with other departments seeking to achieve the same goals. Through the process, you may find opportunities for collaboration, allowing you to broaden your reach and engage more students.

Does your library go beyond your walls to engage students? Take our quiz to find out!

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Topics: Higher Ed

Mango (PS)

Written by Mango (PS)

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