The academic school year has started for many universities and colleges! If you had planned for something or will be planning for something soon, think about some creative ways to engage with students!
From photo booths to scavenger hunts, you can showcase library resources and giveaways to attract your new learners and introduce them to library services. We find that students prefer academic planners and any kind of swag that can enhance their mobile devices. These examples include microfiber-cleaning cloths to clean the surface of their cell phones or eyeglasses, multi-charging cables for USB to Apple Devices, or a phone wallet to conveniently store their Student ID Cards, etc.
There are numerous ways to set up your orientation services: you can embed yourself in the summer orientations and/or set up the library’s own orientation workshops throughout the beginning of the semester. Here are some ways to make your orientation much more engaging.
Think about using slide formats from Prezi, Slides.Com or HaikuDeck and add the Cephalonian Method to your short presentations to encourage students to “ask” questions and engage with the content visually. Sometimes you can also show short videos introducing library services or resources if you have one and then set up a Kahoot.it quiz to gamify the learning and test students and their knowledge. Students can also take the customized quiz in created in BuzzFeed too. Be sure to give neat prizes at the end too!
You may also perform quick demonstrations of relevant databases covering though-provoking topics that they may get them thinking about how useful the library can be for their first year research experience. For example, you can use Credo’s mind map to show the different keywords associated with “human trafficking” or “white supremacy” and discuss the visualization of these words connected to the research topic. From there, you can have students actually write a 1-minute reflection on these timely topics, and how the library databases can provide useful sources for research.
Learning Tours or Scavenger Hunts?
You can have new students go through the stacks in teams for a scavenger hunt or collect “stamps” from different areas in the library for their library passport to learn more about different services in the library. These are common activities require a bit of coordination and can introduce many students to library resources through learning activities quickly.
Organizers have used different themes and topics such as Harry Potter or Game of Thrones to get students interested in the scavenger hunt. Throughout the scavenger hunt, have students search for specific items in the stacks or online and have document their responses in an online-shared file like Google Docs or in a piece of paper that you can collect at the end. If you have a photo booth set up, you can also have students finish off the scavenger hunt by taking a photo and sharing it on the library’s social media channels.
In some learning tours, students can go through different parts of the library and take “group selfies” as documentation that they were there and then have them share the images with the orientation leaders through an online-shared page like Google Slides. This can be a fun way for students to learn where things are, and what they are in the library. These activities can strengthen their relationships with each other and be exposed to library resources in a simple way.
These are some ideas you may want to consider! Please feel free to share some of your best practices or tips to engage with new students! Hoping your academic semester goes well!