The transition from high school to college can be one of the biggest transitions a student ever makes. Being new to a college campus, most incoming freshmen are unaware of what services the library offers and where they can receive assistance. As the library staff, we can be quick to use library jargon and start teaching these students about information literacy. Before we drive into the hard-hitting library content, it’s important for the library staff to connect with students.
The early connections allow library staff to start building relationships with students. These connections can be in the form of information fairs or presentations. They can occur at high schools, community events, or on your college campuses. My first interaction with incoming students usually occurs during New Student Orientation. As I provide students and their families with information about the library, I make an attempt to engage in brief conversations with them to build rapport. Library promotional items such as brochures, buttons, bags, and pens are disturbed during the information fair. These items are good for helping students remember the library’s location and resources.
When giving a presentation during New Student Orientation, I like to incorporate interactive software such as PollEverywhere and Mentimeter and develop questions to help gauge the student’s knowledge of library resources. Incorporating these types of software can also help library staff learn more about the students. Additionally, it can help eliminate stereotypes students may have about libraries and librarians.
As we connect with students early in their college career, we cannot forget about graduate and transfer students. According to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 37.2% of college students transfer at least once within 6 years (2015). As First Year Experience Librarian, I have the opportunity to connect with these students at Graduate and Transfer New Student Orientation. We incentivize students to attend our session by giving out Library Loot Coupons before the library presentation. Students who then stop by the library before the end of the orientation day receive a library tote bag, which includes a library brochure. As the presentation takes place in another building, this incentive encourages students to discover the library while exploring their campus.
What are some ways you connect with students before driving into hard-hitting library content? Let us know in the comments section!
The library and library staff play a critical role in helping students make a smooth transaction to college. Stay tuned for more posts in this blog series. I’ll outline strategies and best practices for developing a personalized approach in order to effectively introduce services to more students, reduce library anxiety, and engage students through orientation and instruction.
National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (2015). Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions. Fall 2011 (Signature Report No. 15). Retrieved from http://pas.indiana.edu/pdf/SignatureReport9.pdf
Bryant Moore is the First-Year Experience Librarian at Texas A&M University-San Antonio Library. He enjoys finding creative ways to engage students with academic research and teach the importance of utilizing the library and its resources. Bryant earned a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas in 2014. He currently serves as a mentor for the Texas Library Association New Member Round Table Mentoring Program and the Big Brother, Big Sister Workplace Mentoring Program. In 2018, Bryant was awarded the Credo FYE Innovation Award.