Thursday, January 18, 2007

A little outreach, or so I am sitting at this table

Our campus recently hosted a Welcome Week for students. This is our first week back for the Spring Semester. As often happens, we get an invitation to these types of things when someone has an afterthought of "ohh, might be cool if the library could have a table there." If I sound a bit snarky, it's because I found out about the event late last week (let me rephrase: I was aware of the event; I was just not aware we were invited), which gave me a whole 48 hours to confirm our attendance and location, make sure that we had some things to give away (I think people call that the "swag"), and then make sure my schedule was set so I could be there from 11:30am to 1:00pm on three days. Today was our last day.

Leaving aside the snark, it was definitely well worth the effort for us to be there. I had the good fortune of having a table right next to the nice folks from our campus writing center. By the way, the writing center has a satellite location in the library, and they should be announcing their hours for the library satellite soon. At any rate, we were able to meet with some students, promote the library and the writing center together, and overall it was a nice time. What I also noticed while I was at our table is that people saw the sign for the library, and they would stop by and ask questions from directions to some basic reference questions. I got at least seven of those queries over two days, which was not bad. I have been bouncing the idea with my supervisor that I could borrow one of the old laptops we kept in the old instruction room, and set up a mobile reference librarian in the food court or other public area for short periods of time during the week. Based on the people that stopped by, I think there may be an opportunity there waiting to be tapped. On another positive, the dean of the University College, who was one of the coordinators, was pleased, and we have been invited to come back next semester.

P.S. It seems I have also been drafted to work on something called Gear-Up, a program for middle school teachers. It's a professional development program for local school teachers, and someone, namely, the director, mentioned to them I have teaching experience. So, if all goes well, I will go talk to the coordinator, and I will likely end up doing some presentation and/or work with teachers. We'll see how it goes, but I always welcome a chance to work with school teachers. Use of technology and 2.0 in the classroom are a couple of topics of interest. We'll see how it goes.

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