academic libraries

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!

Use Piktochart Photo Frames For Quick, Eye-Catching Digital Signage

Filling our digital signage is a constant point of stress for me. I hate when content goes stale, don’t you? Every week I receive free, high-res photos from Unsplash. I use these photos for creative inspiration, but sometimes they work out just great for marketing. The sad little pug was in this week’s Unsplash email and I couldn’t resist his face. I think a lot of my students can relate to his look of distress (especially as we careen towards semester’s end). I created the two images below using Piktochart Photo Frames.

sadpugstartcircsign.png

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Fun fact: Don’t Carry It All is the name of a song by one of my favorite bands, The Decemberists. Thanks for the inspiration, Colin!

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.

Facebook Rolled Out Reactions and I Won Wednesday

Yesterday Facebook rolled out its newest feature…reactions. In addition to liking posts, users now have the option to love, laugh, hate, and more. As I scrolled through my news feed, I saw a post from Radiolab that added headphones to the reaction faces and morphed them into an advertisement for their show. I was instantly inspired and made my own advertisement promoting librarian services as a way to ameliorate the emotions that users experience while going through the research process.

libraryreactions

I’m pretty proud of this one. Not only is it super timely, but it also hearkens back to Carol Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process. I shared the ad in an ACRL library marketing Facebook group and it’s already been adapted by a number of other libraries. And the post has nearly 200 likes!

 

Infographic: Evaluating News Sources

A faculty member from OWU’s Education Department asked me to design an infographic to help her students evaluate news sources. We worked closely together on the content (she had specific websites in mind that she did NOT want her students to use). It was a surprisingly easy design experience and I think that had a lot to do with the open and honest input I got from my faculty member.

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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.

High School Outreach Is Important…AND FUN!

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of meeting with AP Composition classes at a nearby high school. Interacting with high school students is an integral part of my work. Not only do I help the students themselves, but I also benefit from interacting with an age group that is so very similar to my own first year students.

I was asked to speak about the differences between high school and college research under the assumption that, as AP students, many of them would test out of first year composition. I wanted to tailor my presentation as much as possible to this particular group, so I asked them to answer a few questions using a Google form.

Google forms are gloriously easy to set up. Be sure to select Paragraph Text as the Question Type so responses can be as long as necessary.

Google forms are gloriously easy to set up. Be sure to select Paragraph Text as the Question Type so responses can be as long as necessary.

I didn’t want to use my session for search strategies or resources instruction (students would get that later from their own librarian). And rather than focus solely on library resources and college-level research, I wanted to address anxieties students might be feeling about college life in general. I saw patterns in their responses to my questions that made it easy to come up with content for my presentation.

My presentation consists of five slides. The first four address the questions I asked via the Google form and the last contains words of wisdom from OWU seniors and recent graduates.

For presentation mode, click here: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/5087713-olentangylibertyhs

To see it in presentation mode, click here:
https://magic.piktochart.com/output/5087713-olentangylibertyhs

This was my first time using Piktochart‘s presentation mode and, of course, I found it incredibly easy to work with. I started from a template, but did a lot of customization. I kept consistent design elements throughout (like font and color) which made the process much easier as I could focus on wording and layout.

If you’d like to know more about my presentation, please comment and I’ll happily elaborate.