As the dog days of summer wind down, students are packing up their belongings, trading in their beach bags for backpacks and making their way back to campus. Before you know it, your library will be full of students ready to hit the books and make the 2015-2016 academic year their best yet.
But for the incoming freshman class, “hitting the books” isn’t as easy as it seems. The library, and all it offers, is quite possibly unlike anything they’ve ever seen. You’ve got a big job coming up in ensuring this new class knows where to find the special collections, how to use the university printing services and where their Biology 101 study session is located. Read on to find tips for preparing the upcoming freshman class for success at your library.
Pay them a visit
Where can you find the biggest groups of freshmen students? In introductory classes, of course! While it may not be possible to visit every 101 classroom during syllabus week, drop in on as many freshmen 101 classes as you can and give students a crash course in navigating the library. Hand out bookmarks and pencils to keep your library on their minds and in their pockets. This way, you’ll be able to introduce yourself, explain how to use the library and reach plenty of eager learners in the process.
Make it fun
First year college students have a lot on their plate. After moving into their dorm, figuring out how to get along with a new roommate and making sure they don’t end up in the wrong History 101 classroom, decoding the abyss that is the library seems like a task not many want to take on. That’s where the fun comes in. At North Carolina State University, freshmen students participate in a library “scavenger hunt” through their required first year program classes. Through the scavenger hunt, students descend upon different parts of the library, searching for clues that lead them through one of the library’s offerings to the next. This tactic takes the intimidation factor out of exploring the library and lets students get familiar with resources in an exciting way.
Spread the word
Does your library host tours for incoming freshmen and transfer students? What about events that teach research techniques? Whatever your academic library does to help on-campus newbies, make sure you’re letting students know. Put up posters, promote on social channels, or ask professors to tell their students. While you’re getting the word out, be sure to offer free food when the budget allows. Nothing attracts freshmen students to events like the thought of a break from cafeteria food!
Whether you’re giving tours or sending students on a library-themed scavenger hunt, readying them to use the library is key in their academic success. But today’s students are on the lookout for something else as well: awesome resources that help them learn through creating. Are you offering the innovative resources they want? Take our quiz and see if your library is on the cutting edge of technology and learning.