Think back to the days when you were in college. Life was swell. You had as much free food as your meal plan allowed, you lived with all your best friends and it was socially acceptable to dress up as your college mascot for game day. The only real stress you had was completing every term paper and reading assignment that came your way. Between the cafeteria, coffee shops and the comfort of your own dorm room, there were plenty of places to get your work done.
But what about the library? Many students don’t take full advantage of the library’s resources as a destination for learning, working and furthering their education. Today’s savvy academic librarian needs to have the ability to market the library as the place to be for everyone in their community. Here are five ways to make your library the hottest destination on campus:
Advertise, advertise, advertise.
You may have the hottest resources, events and study spaces on campus, but if you don’t advertise these offerings, students will never be able to take advantage of them! Keep a list of your library offerings available on the website, then partner with different staff members and academic departments to promote them. Make sure you have flyers around campus promoting your library’s resources. If you need a place to start, try visiting Mango Market for some delightful table tents, banners and flyers and show the world that you’re a Mango!
Stock up on resources for everybody.
For the students in abstract algebra on campus, books don’t take them far, so they may feel the library doesn’t offer them all too much. Quash those pessimistic notions right away and provide those burgeoning mathematicians the computer resources they need to better understand their cyclotomic field extensions. Even if you don’t know a dragon curve from a differentiated equation, you still need to ensure your library is loaded with resources to benefit everybody.
Keep your library environment(s) work-friendly.
Depending on their assignments, students have different needs for their work spaces. Students in a politics seminar might require a conference room where they can work together to create a website highlighting the political history of female rubber farmers in Uganda, while an English major may need nothing more than a cozy armchair tucked in the stacks to complete their analysis of the limits of memory as demonstrated in Dracula. We’ve already talked about the resources you need to appeal to all students, but don’t hesitate to optimize the different physical spaces in your library for students’ varying needs as well.
Be more than just a work space!
The library may be the best place to study on campus, but if it’s only that, you’re only engaging students in one facet of their academic growth. Host events and panels to become more than just a place to study. Think of your library as a place where all students can discuss, engage and learn in different capacities. A free panel event on the Euro crisis with professors from your college’s politics and economics department keeps your library relevant while connecting you with different departments. A movie night featuring a double screening of Picnic at Hanging Rock and Mean Girls is sure to appeal to the Gender Studies scholars on campus. Integrate ways to engage students with more than just books and resources.
Appeal to everyone’s (basic) needs.
Let’s be real: a place to work is great, but a place to work with snacks is infinitely more appealing. Wherever there’s food, college kids will congregate, so don’t forget to appeal to your community’s basic needs. Hosting coffee breaks or pizza nights during finals week is a surefire way to make your library a destination for students to work, play and rejuvenate while learning. If you’re worried about getting Cheeto dust on your reference materials, there are plenty of other less-messy ways to appeal to students’ basic needs. A five-minute midnight dance party on the fourth floor can re-energize night owls working on their capstone projects, and a yoga session in the basement calms down even the most frazzled freshmen.
Ready to make your library a hot destination on campus? Check out this case study for some helpful insights!