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Undergraduate Librarians’ Discussion Group Minutes - ALA Las Vegas - June 30

Undergraduate Librarians’ Discussion Group

ALA, June 30, 2014, 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Las Vegas, NV

Attendance: 20


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  • Pittsburg State University - http://www.pittstate.edu/ - Pittsburg Kansas - just hired a learning outreach librarian. Opening a new position for Digital Initiatives - MLIS required, technical skills required: http://pittstate.edu/jobs/LIBR006392S

  • Texas State University - Soon to be posting a Library Experience Librarian - managing and scheduling the reference desk, supervising LA's on the reference desk, taking care of the learning commons.




Topics and Ideas

What are your ideas and events for bringing students into the library for both academic and social engagement?

  • Mango languages has a Pirate language learning. May incorporate into "Talk like a Pirate" Day. Library staff can dress like pirates on “Talk like a Pirate Day.”

  • Mini golf success stories - Great attendance. Students get free pizza. Had done scavenger hunts in the past, but wanted to focus on the party/fun part. Mini-golf with fun facts at each location.

    • How do you make the golf course?

      • Some campuses use de-selected volumes to create the holes.

      • UW-Madison - Each library makes their own hole. They use carpet squares. Had golf clubs donated. They gave coupons as prizes.

      • Mini-golf, Wii, x-box, show movies, also used

      • UW-Madison - mantra is "no-ulterior motive" for student social events in the library - advice is to not try to turn a social event into an academic event.

  • Has anyone done a haunted library? Discarded micro-film is super creepy. Could connect with student volunteers.

    • Some students have wanted to do haunted house. Need to balance the disruptive elements with need to provide space for studying.

Who are your "not the usual suspects" campus partners?


  • Creative Writing / MFA - Library sponsored lecture series. 2 alumni poets. Poem-a-thon. Poetry stations: Exquisite Corpse Poetry, Book spine poetry, advertised with writing programs.

  • (Univ of Michigan)World Cafe - Hosting a conversation series tied to theme semesters (e.g., theme semester about race and identity). Worked with Muslim Student Association on campus to create facilitated events that created great conversations. Included a free catered dinner for those who signed up. Got help publicizing with student group. Next theme semester is about sports. Theme is tied to largest college at the university.

  • Bring in video game industry professionals to talk to students about how they got started professionally. Worked with a student group to plan and market the event. Organized as a panel. Each person spoke for about 15 minutes and then Q&A. Did a student survey on career aspirations and then brought in people to talk based on student career goals, interests, and ideas.


What are some examples of engaging with student groups?

  • Breakfast Club - A theater group wants to do a "Breakfast Club" event. Students had recreated breakfast club dance scene in the library.

  • If you have a high traffic lobby space, Have you offered student groups use of a table in the space as a goodwill campaign?

    • What policies are needed?

      • Planning deadlines for student groups. Limits on size and types of signage. System to ensure no impeding traffic. Can't solicit/bring students over to their table.

  • Flashmobs - Mackelmore's Thrift shop.

  • A Cappella singing groups in the library.

  • Ballroom dancing team.

  • Set up a stage for student groups. Student orgs advertise their groups and perform while students are in line for food.

  • Idea - when hosting events, re-arrange the food to encourage more exploration of the library. Other strategies - get three tickets at three different stations to get food.


Who are your campus partners? What events/programming do you work on with them?


  • Athletics

  • Assistant Director - Office of Fellowships

  • Residential Academic Initiatives

  • Pop-up libraries in the residence halls

  • Carnaval party in the residence halls - librarians did consultations during the party and it worked well.

  • Hosting exhibits in different campus buildings as a part of getting the library out of the library.

  • Dean of Students and Student Affairs to host Yoga in the stacks, Henna tattooing in the stacks, plant herbs that you can grow in your dorm room, therapy dogs, "love yourself" valentines decorated mirrors.

  • Counseling Center, Career Center, Career Center - advice on healthy sleeping habits, stress reduction, working on a dedicated room - a stress free zone. pleasant music, biofeedback. Peer to peer workshop on cleaning up your digital life in preparation for a career.


How do you get started with Therapy Dogs and other animal events?

  • Health and Safety authorization is really important. Using licensed dogs with their own insurance is important for getting buy-in.

  • Therapy cats? Public Library in Texas does therapy cats.

  • Some libraries have events to read books to cats from animal shelters.


What are your tips and advice for “free food in the library” events?

  • Health services wanted to donate healthy snacks to the library. Lots of granola bars and dried fruit. Students were very grateful for the food. Important because some students are out of money by the end of the semester.

  • How do you prevent a few students from taking all the food, leaving none for others?

    • A sign which says "Be a good pizza citizen" - can be a positive way to encourage good citizenship.

    • At a “Cram jam” in the library - food was distributed as a packet with a hand stamp.


The UGLI Round-Robin!


  • Just hired an undergraduate experience librarian. Created a maker space.

  • Set aside a small amount of money in our budget for partnering with other groups

  • Opening a creative commons space to include technology skills

  • Senior thesis camp in partnership with the writing center and the counseling center. Get invited to events that are happening on campus. Librarians in the dorms. Each librarian is assigned to a dorm and will do outreach with them.

  • Blind date with a book in February. Wrapped up books with barcode on the outside. Wildly popular. How to avoid "missing" books when taken from shelf?

  • Going to try giving away free copy of a book in exchange for writing a little blurb review on the shelf.

  • Digital collections on postcards. Library partners pay for postage. Button-making - using discarded book covers, mascots, digital collections. Students make their own buttons. Literary pick-up lines for Valentines.

  • ee earplugs - 1,000 pairs in the first day! Film screening series tied to freshman seminar - students are required to go to a campus event for a grade - library offered a film screening.

  • Napping stations - brought forward by student government. Vinyl cots with small pillows, disposable pillow cases and wipes. Cleaning materials provided by student government. 30 minute limit on napping. Monitored by circulation staff during their regular rounds. At the end of the pilot. Check carefully with all departments on campus.

  • (Univ of Michigan) Gallery space - exhibits with undergraduates paired with a class. For example - sound recordings, photographs, and journaling of campus arboretum.

  • Top prize for campus scavenger hunt - grand prize is a reserved table at the library.

    • Longstanding question - are how do students signal that they are willing to share their table. Create a table tent that says "I'm willing to share the table" --- Other campuses have Reversable signs - "I'm willing to share / Not willing to share"

  • Ever expanding complexity of what is going on the library - flipped classroom spaces, timetable courses, student services doing drop-in hours -- we don't give space - all space is multi-purpose - all spaces go to open study when not in use. Today in the library postings. International students groups on campus.

  • Collaborated with International Students Association. Have a spot on campus calendar. Do an ice-cream reception for international students as part of orientation.

  • New user experience department - everyone is doing events, everybody has marketing challenges. Outreach librarian has done an outreach campus group to talk about effective outreach to students.

  • Local Poet/musician/actor/performance artist in the library. Did buttons for national library week - Student centered everything on the Monday of National Library week.

  • Expanding the student body by another 200 students / year. 2 new residential colleges. Hoping to post a new position for an undergraduate librarian.

  • Permanent course reserves just for FYE students. Big success - getting to do presentation to all first year international students.

UGLIMinutes-ALAJune302014.pdf71.12 KB