Your library often feels like the center of the campus community, but in some ways, it can feel like a world apart as well. Because of your position as a resource hub—and not always as a place of instruction (unfortunately!)—it can be difficult to ascertain what’s going on in the classroom. That being said, there are multiple ways that you can use your library’s resources to connect with every department from Anthropology to Zoology.
Make your mission resonate across departments.
Does your library have a mission statement? If so, it can be a powerful tool to help you prove the value of your institution to different campus departments. Before you enter into a beginning-of-semester conversation with the political science dean to discuss how you can collaborate this term, take a moment to think about your shared priorities in how you want students to learn. If you’re driven by a mission statement focused on spreading knowledge to empower students to change their communities and you know the department head is similarly driven by social impact, don’t be afraid to make that clear. By showing that you’ve got similar goals for student learning, you can begin any conversation with some essential common ground.
Accommodate how students in different departments study.
While history majors still make use of your microfiche collection of 20th century newspapers and creative writing students continue to patronize your cozy study rooms, there are certain campus departments that may require more than a few written resources and a comfortable place to write a term paper. Dance students need rooms to choreograph their senior projects, chemistry majors need computers with the software required to complete complex modeling assignments and stagecraft majors need plenty of room to create the props needed for the theatre department’s production of The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?
By providing different environments suited to students of different disciplines, you help to prove the value of your library with different academic departments. When professors and academic coordinators realize that students from all disciplines have the resources they need to do great work at your library, they’re more likely to send them your way.
Keep your resources up-to-date.
Accommodating students across disciplines really only works if you communicate with different departments to find out what students need. At the beginning of every semester, take a look through the course catalog to see what students will be learning about. If the new French professor is teaching a course on French-Algerian relations after 1962, you should make sure you’ve got copies of the 1966 film The Battle of Algiers and information on the art of Kader Attia to go along with her syllabus. If there are new editions of textbooks commonly used in courses, make sure you pick up a copy or two for students who haven’t gotten theirs delivered from Amazon yet. When your library is stocked with useful resources, students across departments won’t have any reason not to check out what you’ve got available.
For more on how to provide value to everyone on campus, take a look at our white paper: The Value of the Library on Campus Today.