Outreach

Facilitator: Andrew Carlos
Note-taker: Lydia Fletcher

  • Faculty in the sciences tend to less involved with the library and tend to be least likely to request instruction for their students. How do we do better outreach, especially when we may not necessarily have a background in the sciences ourselves?
  • Major points of concern:
    • Not knowing how to get started building faculty relationships
    • Trying to get the attention of busy faculty, communication isuess
    • Growing number of assignments and trying to manage multiple disparate groups
  • Librarians working with faculty development office
  • How to have better communication with your faculty:
    • Less about the frequency of the communication, more about the quality of the communication
    • Make your point in your subject line
      • Boil your info down to the most distilled & important form
      • Don’t waste their time with a lot of fluff
      • Don’t bundle multiple announcements into one long newsletter—break each topic out
      • Go to events and be seen by your department
    • What are the faculty’s critical information needs? Funding info? Lab safety guides? Discover what the mission critical information that they need is.
    • Find things that can minimize the amount of work that faculty need to do, e.g. creating resource guides, saved searches, curating lists supervised by different faculty members, etc.
      • If you get frequent questions about a particular assignment or class, work with the faculty member by rounding up resources you’ve used to answer the questions and then share that with the faculty member and suggest closer ties
    • Open Access as a route to opening discussions with faculty members
      • Problem: radio silence
      • Work with development office or grant coordinators
    • Rather than saying “we’ve got this cool thing,” say “we’ve got this cool thing that can do x, y, and z for you”
    • Find out when faculty orientation is and go meet your new faculty members
      • Or get a list of incoming new faculty members and reach out to them individually
    • Find your library advocate and collaborate with them
    • Develop an assessment tool or survey for undergrads and share the collected data with the faculty
    • Find out where your faculty members get coffee and hang out there
    • Establish office hours
      • Let people know when you’re available for drop in questions
      • Take yourself to their space and set up with a laptop
        • Problem: bemusement from faculty who aren’t sure why you’re lurking in their space
    • Remember the small victories and take pride in each success, however minor
    • Establish a rapport with faculty so that when weeding projects or budget cuts or whatever happen you can communicate with them in a non-adversarial manner
      • When bad things happen, remind the faculty that their voices may have more weight with the school administration than the libraries’
    • Side-suggestion: work with student groups to organize demonstrations of resources, like student org groups on facebook, or try to get invited to their forum spaces
  • How do you manage your time when you have multiple departments?
    • Focus on the departments that you can do the most for
    • Give them products they can use, give them solutions
  • Success in getting into department classes to speak
    • Identify intro classes
    • Create an assignment or in-class project that can help students understand or develop information evaluation—come to them with a pre-identified activity or idea, e.g. this database is very helpful for your class!
    • Get into student orientations or develop them for incoming cohorts so that the students know who you are and the faculty see you doing stuff, esp. for new grad students
    • Go to student poster sessions, research presentations, etc. and identify anything you can do to help, e.g. poster design/creation/printing resource guide, and then take that to the faculty member in charge of the program
    • Don’t re-invent the wheel every time you go to a new class
Advertisements