General first-year outreach
If you ask 18-year-olds what an academic library would have to do to get them in the door, they always come up with "public library" PR ideas: book talks, game nights, music, movies, etc. Have you tried any of these? Were they successful?
General First-Year Outreach: Examples
Ohio University: 4+/pub/lge // Contact: Sherri Saines
The Code Game
The Code game is a series of 5 challenges through which students explore the library and earn prizes. They begin by asking for the first task at the Alden Library second floor library services desk. Solve that puzzle, return and get another one…. Students who successfully solve all 5 “codes” are entered in a drawing for one of three grand prizes of $100. This was expensive, and a lot of work! We only had 60 students finish the whole thing. But we liked the idea well enough to try it again in 08; results forthcoming.
We turned the Library into a gaming arcade for one evening during move-in weekend. This, too, was very expensive and time-consuming. We had about 160 turn out, but most ate up the pizza and left. Of the dozen or so who stayed late to actually play games, the reviews were great. We decided the audience was too small.
Student and parent groups tour campus during Precollege, the summer orientation program. In order to entice them to actually come in the library and look around for a few minutes, we serve lemonade. We buy the lemonade from food services, but librarians pour it and take 2-3 minutes to talk to each group about the library. We script the talking points. As this goes on for 3 weeks, we take volunteers from all library departments. It's a feel-good event that we think gains us a lot of good will for the cost of the lemonade.
These fairs are simply conference-type display tables set up in a room through which particular groups are invited: Resident assistants, New students, New faculty, undecided students, etc. We invested in a trifold, some nice laminated library photos, magnets with our IM handle (cheapest thing in the book), and chocolate. Stand and schmooze. doc file script and instructions