04 December 2008


Recently I came across two articles describing very successful outreach or public relations efforts by academic libraries. Both appeared in Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, the quarterly online-only journal from the Science and Technology Section of the Association of College & Research Libraries (a part of the American Library Association). They don’t have an RSS feed, but you can sign up for their mailing list which is used only to notify you of new issues of the journals. If you work in a sci-tech library, you should read this journal.

The first article is Science Experiments: Reaching Out to Our Users, by six science librarians from the University of Washington, Seattle (one of whom is now at Dartmouth College). A user survey discovered that many of their constituents weren’t aware of the library’s services, that most didn’t want to come into the physical library, and that the library’s web site was not in the users’ normal workflow. So, the librarians decided to “meet them in their spaces, lure them into our spaces,” and “use the middle ground that is the Internet.” They tried some really neat outreach efforts: setting up shop in the atrium of a building, geocaching, and setting up a blog, a virtual reading room, and a library presence on a departmental website.

Creating a BUZZ: Attracting SCI/TECH Students to the Library! is authored by eight librarians at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta. I was impressed that the library has an Information Services Marketing Group.” This group came up with the following “dynamic initiatives:” “an afternoon speaker series spotlighting exciting campus research” and “T-Paper, a hip, student-oriented restroom newsletter" (emphasis mine). The article has great photos of their efforts.

Mailing list signup: http://listserver.library.ucsb.edu/mailman/listinfo/istl-updates
Science Experiments: http://www.istl.org/08-fall/article1.html
Creating a BUZZ: http://www.istl.org/06-winter/article2.html

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