Monday, July 22, 2013

Using Programming to Build Connections

While this isn't necessarily an IL instruction focused post, it does speak to other areas of librarianship and thought it might be a nice change of pace in the summer.

Usually during the summer, things are a lot quieter at the library. There are fewer students on campus and the classes that are offered tend not to be too terribly research or IL heavy. This allows the librarians and staff to do a variety of tasks to plan and prepare for the fall.  Beyond weeding, meeting with faculty to prep fall classes, collection development, end of the year statistics, and reviewing/revamping our video tutorials (among other things), I wanted to tap into the energy from Summer Reading Programs at public libraries to see if we couldn't get something to help continue to build community (and increase interest in our new leisure collection), and also bring new populations into the library--because one group I realized I didn't see much of was campus staff.

I put together a calendar, a list of prizes (mostly small, inexpensive things), created a few signs, and sent out an email to staff, faculty, and students (and even spouses/partners could participate).

Here’s the info. flyer:

The response has been fantastic! While we have over 25 participants signed up with a mix of populations, the majority of those who show up for events are staff (since they work year-round, whereas most faculty are on 9-month contracts and many students are off campus for the summer). I have had several staff comment on how nice it is to have something like this for folks to get together and just talk about whatever it is they might be reading.

It has also helped me with my librarian duties by building connections around campus, helping get the word out that we have “fun books” at the library too, and it helps me visit with those faculty who do participate to see what their classes are looking like for the fall, hear about any questions they may have, and assist them.

 Another bonus: on all of the prize entry slips I have them indicate whether the book is from our library and (if not) whether they would recommend we purchase it for our collection.  This is going to come in very handy when I go to work on preparing the leisure collection desiderata. (Below are some photos from a few of our events.)




How do you build connections around campus and how do your non-faculty relationships help you with your library duties & instruction? What fun summer programming or activities do you do?


  1. Great post! I have loved having the summer reading program this summer. It's a great way to grow a reading community on campus.

  2. That is a really great response! What a good way to find out who is reading what on campus. We have a "Second Life Bookshelf" in our library break room where faculty/staff can leave used books that they don't want in their personal collection but don't want to send to Goodwill. These books are are not added to the library collection. Faculty and staff are welcome to give and take from the shelf as they like. Surprisingly, there tends to be some pretty new and popular books that end up there. I have seen several people take and leave books, so I know there are readers on campus! We don't have a official book club, but I like the idea of something more informal especially during the summer when things are slower. Great idea, thanks for sharing!