As everyone in the academic sector is well aware, it’s almost graduation season. Seniors are finishing their final projects and enjoying the campus cafeteria food for one last time. Sophomores are saying goodbye to their friends before heading off for a semester abroad. Freshmen are still trying desperately to cram for their Econ 101 final. At the library, you’re experiencing some crazy stress as students constantly rush in to prepare for their final assessments.
But your job goes further than just helping students get ready for their final exams. The academic library is a prime place to help students prepare for their lives post-graduation. Here are three ways to leverage your resources to help students once they leave campus.
Provide students with cross-cultural skills.
Today’s students aren’t always looking to immediately settle down and buy a house in the suburbs post-graduation. Instead, many are looking to travel and work around the world! Between stints in the Peace Corps and Teach for Us and new opportunities to pursue work or study in foreign countries, students need to leave college with the ability to navigate different cultures. Whether it’s through a language-learning software offered in the library (hopefully one featuring colorful tropical fruits dressed up as people...like Mango Languages), exhibits of foreign art or a strong collection of foreign-language texts, the library should be a place to develop these necessary skills.
Help them navigate the digital world.
Today’s students are already digitally savvy, but the library offers a multitude of opportunities to help shape those skills for maximum benefit in the working world. Students may groan about it, but helping them learn how to craft a great online search and use Boolean phrases to filter results is essential for finding out all sorts of information outside of academia. If you have strong digital resources like 3-D printers or even Oculus Rift, you’ll be giving your students a heads-up in using those resources as they become more popular in the work world. The formal, learning-focused environment of the library makes it a great place for students to take their skills and hone them to help prepare for a career.
Increase cross-curricular knowledge.
No matter what field of study students decide to pursue, chances are they’ll be working with people with different perspectives and backgrounds in their professional career. To ensure these students are able to communicate and work with those who have different professional backgrounds, it’s imperative for them to have strong critical thinking skills and past exposure to cross-curricular knowledge. The library is a resource to increase this cross-curricular knowledge and prepare students to converse, work with and help people with all kinds of backgrounds. Between collaboration that occurs in maker spaces and for group projects and lectures, the library is a great place for students to work together and increase this kind of well-rounded knowledge.
No matter what resources you have available, your library is set up to prepare students for careers—or whatever they plan to do after graduation. However, the more awesome resources you have available, the better-prepared students are. If you’re looking to step your resources up, take a look at our checklist of the 9 innovations shaping academic libraries today!