Last week was the first New Student Orientation of the summer, where approx. 600 students and their parents spend two days sitting through presentations, running around going to different meeting rooms, signing up for classes & university ids, & touring the campus – all in 100 degree + weather.
Prior to last year, the library’s only role was to staff one of the dozens of tables at the CatConnections Expo; this is an optional expo that takes place on the second day during lunch time across from a number of other sessions & schedule advising. We’ve had some luck at this Expo, reaching 30 students or so each time, but they are very quick conversations as the students are walking by. We give them a brochure, encourage them to come to the Amazing Library Race, tell them as much about our services as we can in a few minutes, and send them on their way.
We’re still staffing this table, which is great, but now we also get to deliver an actual presentation, which is much better. This year I’m coordinating these presentations, which are delivered by librarians and library staff from around the library. Of course it’s not required (which would be the ideal – maybe one day), and it takes place across from 8 other sessions going on at the same time. We get half an hour, and deliver two sessions on the first day of orientation during lunch time. This year it’s a “brown bag” which means the students get to pick up their lunches and head off to sessions of their choosing. Although it didn’t work out that way. We actually only had a couple students still eating their lunches when they got to our room, which wasn’t set up to allow for eating since it was auditorium-style seating and no tables.
But it was a huge success. The first session we had 12 students. The second we had 37! The room only seats 50 (or maybe less) so this was a wonderful turnout. We had a number of people asking questions, and they enjoyed learning about all the library has to offer to get a head start in the fall.
Right now we have just a powerpoint, 10 slides, lots of pictures, few words. We really encourage people to go to the Amazing Library Race and give them promo bookmarks, as well as our standard library brochure (titled “Think Libraries are Just About Books? Think Again…). I’ve been working with a colleague on putting together a short video to show, but it’s becoming more difficult that we originally envisioned due to formatting issues with our video camera. Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll sort that out to play it at orientations throughout the rest of the summer. When it’s done I’ll post it on here, too.