academic library

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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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.

Design School On A Budget (Which Is To Say…Free)

I’m always looking for design inspiration these days. I’m using my phone to snap pictures of everything from postcards to book covers, concert posters to clothing tags, food labels to directional signage, and more. The other day I was noodling about in our art stacks when I happened across this graphic design book:

Graphic Design Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design

Graphic Design Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design

At this very moment, it’s sitting next to my keyboard full of those tiny post-it notes used to bookmark pages. It covers design and typography with a wealth of examples from famous designers, brands, and design companies dating as far back as 1876.

So far I’ve made two objects based on things I’ve seen in this book. The first is a poster for an upcoming library event designed in the style of the cover of a 1950 issue of the British publication Typographica:

Live@LibraryTeaser (1)The second is an image for use on Facebook and in our Screenly playlist that runs on a flat screen tv next to the help desk (more on Screenly in a future post):

This isn't based on a specific image from the book. I like to think I'm learning something about drawing the eye and effective fonts.

This isn’t based on a specific image from the book. I like to think I’m learning something about drawing the eye and effective fonts.

The images were, of course, created using Piktochart. I plan to continue to use this book to help me design learning objects for the classroom, marketing materials, library signage, and more.

On a side note, the authors of Graphic Design Referenced include this note in their introduction:

IMAG2811_1

I can’t say I disagree with their decision.

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!

Good Campus Citizen

Every year, OWU hosts its Sagan National Colloquium throughout Fall semester in order to explore a national/international issue from multiple educational angles. This year’s colloquium centers around water. The library creates a LibGuide in support of the various speakers/events that take place on campus, but I thought I’d take it a step further this year and add my mad button-making skills to the mix. Making buttons to help promote campus activities outside of the library is an excellent way to build rapport with faculty, staff, and students and be invested in campus as a whole.

Two versions of the colloquium logo and its adorable rubber ducky mascot.

Two versions of the colloquium logo and its adorable rubber ducky mascot.

Self-Discovery Layer

Summon is Library Google. That’s how I’ve referred to our discovery layer since we first implemented it. But after a stimulating journal club meeting I realize I’ve been going about it the wrong way.

Rather than lazily plunking Summon and Google into the same category and letting the students figure it out on their own, I should be using Google and Summon as a bridge into library research and resources. (Pardon me if this sounds like, “duh,” but I’ve been avoiding Summon in the classroom like the plague for reasons I won’t go into here.)

Google is simple. And we like that. Google usually gives us what we want within the first two pages of results (you know, because if it doesn’t we just do a different search). Thank you, Google, for about 469,000,000 results in 0.28 seconds, but what good are they if I can’t sort them in a way that’s meaningful to me?

Enter Summon. With its simple, Google-like search box that accepts searches like “why is global warming bad” and “rush limbaugh doesn’t believe in global warming” and its gracious offering of refinement options by Publication Date, Content Type, Subject Terms, and Language.

In the classroom, I’ll start where students are familiar (Google), blow their mind about how search engine results are ranked, and show them how their library makes research easier and results more relevant.

I’m growing as a librarian. Really!

 

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