UK 101 A New Way of Introducing Freshmen to Campus Libraries
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Personalized Library Portals, Virtual Reference and Federated Searching are some of the recent technological advancements offered in public service at many libraries. At the University of Kentucky, we realized that we needed to "get back to the basics" in order to improve our relationships with undergraduate students. In 2004, the Library Marketing Committee conducted focus groups with undergraduates to provide the data needed to create a marketing plan. The initial goals were to determine the best advertising methods to reach undergraduates effectively and which services we need to focus on first. The sample was small and non-scientific, but the results were consistent in each session. Our undergraduates were missing the most fundamental information about libraries--we provide free assistance and they are welcome at all fifteen campus libraries. In addition, they wanted to know more about the services we offered. During the same year, the Instruction Committee was charged with evaluating the library involvement in a voluntary one-credit course introducing incoming freshmen to the university, called UK 101. The University Libraries had tried several methods, from tours and library exercises for all sections to a dedicated four-week library component for a single section. After reviewing the focus group data, it was clear that a new approach was needed and UK 101 provided an excellent opportunity to reach at least one-third of the incoming freshman class each year. The Instruction Committee and the Marketing Committee collaborated to revamp the course so that it emphasized the basic reasons for using the library and welcomed students to visit the library of their choice. The new and improved library component of UK 101 was required by all sections reaching over 1600 freshmen in 71 sections during the first semester of 2004/2005 academic year. It consisted of a PowerPoint presentation conducted by library personnel, a library tour conducted by the peer instructor and a TILT-based tutorial. The presentation and tour took place during one class period and the tutorial was completed outside of class. The difference(s) between this project and many other library instruction sessions was the heavy emphasis on making students aware of the fifteen campus libraries. The presentation and the tutorial both used fresh and fun approaches to reach the students, and were created based on advice from the Teaching and Learning Center on campus. Due to the strong support of Library Administration, the workload was spread among 25 library employees including librarians, paraprofessionals and library science graduate students. University Libraries has continued participating in UK 101 and anticipates an increased enrollment in 2006. Simultaneously, in an effort to reach the rest of the student population, the Marketing Committee has increased awareness of library services and resources to undergraduates through exhibits at campus events, dorm presentations and advertisements in campus food services and stalls. These experiences have provided the instruction librarians a new way to approach information literacy and produced a foundation of competencies now expected of most undergraduate students.
Contributing institution: University of Kentucky
Libraries; College freshmen