library as place

Coloring: So Hot Right Now

Coloring has been the go-to stress reliever in libraries for a while now, so it was only a matter of time before we jumped on that bandwagon. And, honestly, I’m so glad we did. Students were very receptive (especially our student workers). One student worker kept taping blank sheets to the Desk to encourage collaborative coloring.

I bought two adult coloring books, tore out the pages, and made copies so I can keep the originals and put out copied sheets each semester (total cost $10). I then purchased 5 boxes of standard Crayola colored pencils.  They were on SUPER sale at our local Pat Catan’s – only $2 per box!

I put the coloring pages in one of those office paper trays along with the container of sharpened pencils and this sign:

coloring-table

To promote the month-long event, I shared this on Facebook (made with Piktochart, as usual):

aprilcoloringmonth

In sum, this was a very low cost/low labor activity that my students really loved. From now on, every November and April will be coloring month in my library!

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Giant Jenga

Now that midterms have passed and the end of the semester is in sight, my students are entering their high-stress period. Stress-relieving activities have been the trend in libraries for a while now and OWU is no exception. I love to try to surprise my students with things they wouldn’t expect to see in a library. Enter Giant Jenga.

This is a fairly low budget project, but does take some time. I want to say it took me about a month to complete, but that’s because I could only devote a few hours a week to box assembly and decoration. If you have three or four people working on it, I think you can easily make it in 1 or 2 days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Assemble the boxes and seal them with the clear tape. Then tape two boxes together. (If you can find boxes that are long and shaped like, well, Jenga pieces, you can avoid having to tape two boxes together like I did. But I feel like the doubled up boxes hold up better to game play – which, remember, involves the boxes crashing to the ground.)

Use your decorative duct tape to fancy up the game pieces any way you see fit. I did a border around the ends of each piece. Then paint whatever words you want on the sides of the pieces. I opted for the words “LIBRARY” and “JENGA.”

It’s best to set the game up on a carpeted area as the pieces make noise when they fall (which will be amplified on tile flooring).

My kids seem to love it! I hope it lasts through the end of the semester and have extra boxes on hand should some of the pieces get destroyed.

highgiantjenga

Look how high they got!

markwithjenga

Here’s our circulation manager Mark standing by Giant Jenga for scale.

Live @ The Library 2016

We are a few weeks away from Live @ The Library and I am so proud of my poster design for this year’s event:

Live@Library2016 (1)

I was inspired by Vanity Fair covers from the 1920s and did the character drawings myself.  I used ink pen and Prismacolor markers on mixed media paper, then cut the figures out and laid them on layered pieces of very old construction paper (which gave me the faded effect that I really adore). I uploaded my image into Piktochart and used the event logo I designed last year.

 

 

 

Collect Success Stories To Fuel Word-of-Mouth Marketing

As part of our ongoing marketing campaign, we’ve begun collecting library success stories from our students, faculty, and staff. We hope to share these stories via social media, marketing materials, and our website. On our campus, I think it’s safe to say that most people think the library and librarians are extremely valuable resources, but I don’t know if it’s always easy to articulate why. By collecting anecdotal evidence, we’ll be better equipped to narrate our value and hopefully connect with those students and faculty who have not yet benefited from our services.

Here is the Google form I created to help OWU Libraries tell its story (it’s modeled after a form used by OhioLINK):

shareyourstory

We’ll share this form through our website, social media, and direct email communication with our users. In addition, librarians will add their own success stories so we can build a database of the good work we do every day.

Marketing The Library As An Experience

It was a whirlwind academic year. I don’t think I’ve ever been busier with classes, student appointments, marketing, and all the other joys of academic librarianship. Now that it’s over, I have set my sights set on our incoming freshmen class. Here at OWU we require incoming freshmen to attend one of three 2-day sessions we call StART (Student Advising, Registration, and Testing). It’s the first opportunity for many campus faculty and staff to interact with students in person (of course, I’ve already infiltrated their Facebook group *evil laugh*). StART attendees receive a folder that includes all sorts of checklists and helpful campus information. I’ve made some significant revisions to this year’s OWU Libraries informational handout.

It’s now a 4 page, 5.5 inch x 4.25 inch booklet. Portions of the layout and design were inspired by a booklet created for the Columbus Coffee Experience.

StARTCover (2)

This is the cover. The booklet will be tucked inside a folder full of other informational materials, so I wanted to be sure it was a) small enough to have to go in the front and b) had something interesting at the top that would make students want to read it.

StART2 (2)

This is page 2. I highlighted the most important services for students in the larger text and was able to feature all our campus libraries and some other key spaces and events in the smaller text. And, of course, I put our most valuable resource, our librarians, in red, all caps text.

Page 3 includes real student testimonials meant to showcase how each student can benefit from the library in a unique way – whether it’s from using resources, having access to scanners, or finding a quality study space.

The back cover promotes a photograph opportunity at the Libraries information table on the first day of each StART event.

The back cover encourages students to visit the Libraries information table on the first day of each StART event.

I’m pretty pleased with my work on this booklet. I designed it using Piktochart and had it printed by OWU’s own print services staff (who are amazing, by the way). I hope it will encourage OWU students to find their own space, librarian, and resources within the libraries.

Piktochart + MS Paint = My Marketing Toolkit

My library is hosting a very special event later this month that has me creating a bunch of teaser ads (a post about the event will be along shortly, I promise). My latest ad was made possible by good ole MS Paint and, of course, Piktochart.

Using Google, I found these paper doll clothing images:

paperdollgirls

 paperdollboys

 

The yellow dress and blue suit were just the aesthetic I was looking for, so I pasted each picture into MS Paint and used the Free Form Selection tool to cut the individual items out. I used that same tool to copy the yellow tabs from the blue suit and affix them to the dress (in design, I prefer matchy matchy).

Here’s the finished product:

Live@LibraryPlayDressUp

Teaser ad for Live @ The Library

Since this ad is just a teaser for the event, I only included the date. The official event poster including time and event logo will be released closer to the event. College kids have very short attention spans and very busy schedules. The slow reveal of event details will hopefully keep them interested.

 

An Easy Way To Collaborate With Your Campus Writing Center

It’s no secret that collaborating and supporting campus services strengthens the library’s relationships and increases its value and visibility. Thanks to a suggestion from OWU’s Writing Resource Center faculty, my library was able to provide space and marketing for a much-needed “after-hours” student service.

Our campus Writing Resource Center serves students by helping them become more confident, effective writers. Students can drop by or schedule an appointment during regular business hours to get help from experienced faculty on any type of writing assignment. However, on a small, residential campus like OWU, student schedules are often packed to the gills between 9 am and 5 pm (class, sports, lunch, naps, etc.).

Enter the library.

We’ve begun hosting a Writing Center Drop-in Table a few nights each month from 7 – 9 pm. The table is staffed by student peer-tutors and a librarian (when a librarian is available). Our first two tables were a great success with 6 students stopping by each night (a strong turn out for a campus this size). The writing center faculty advertised directly to our freshmen composition faculty and I did marketing through Facebook and the library website.

Now that we’ve got our advertising and LibGuide established, there is little I need to do each time new dates are announced. It’s another great way to get students into the library and promote the use of our space by other campus organizations.

If you can't already tell, I once again used Piktochart to create this (in my humble opinion) most excellent web advertisement.

If you can’t already tell, I once again used Piktochart to create this (in my humble opinion) most excellent web advertisement.

And this is the image I created for our website's rotating carousel.  Again, the glory that is Piktochart!

And this is the image I created for our website’s rotating carousel. Again, the glory that is Piktochart!