Orientation Fair – Library Stylie
Meeting the incoming freshmen is one of my favorite parts of the fall semester. Despite the fact that they continually make me feel old (the age gap is becoming harder and harder to ignore), it’s rejuvenating to witness their energy, ideas and styles. Learning about their past library experiences and listening to their concerns about the upcoming year are equally impressive, giving me touch-points to base my library spiel/elevator speech on as they stop at the table.
This year, our table hosted a bowl of lollipops (BlowPops are apparently far more desirable than TootsiePops), a handout highlighting our temporary library in Gerhart Hall, a handout highlighting all of the ways they can get in touch with a librarian, giveaways of post-it notes with the library website printed on them, and a display showing pictures of all the subject librarians, methods to Ask A Librarian, and some upcoming library events:
Some interesting things that I observed/learned during the 1.5 hour fair:
- While many students asked about library employment, two students asked about how to volunteer for the library. They said they had volunteered for their library at home and wanted to do the same at college. Work. For free. For the library. How awesome is that?! I quickly recruited them for our student advisory board.
- Eye contact, smiling and saying hello are key to getting people to come to your table!
- Students were impressed when I explained that each major has a subject librarian. They were even more thrilled when I let them know that the subject librarians are familiar with their professors and assignments, and could start them off in the right direction for research.
- Lots of interest in my ear plugs (tiny, size 2 gauges, usually hidden by my hair) – one student said he really wanted to gauge his ears but his mom said she would stop paying his tuition. Yipes! I told him a college education was cooler anyhow.
- More than one student expressed their desire for print books – some for fun reading (asked if we had a popular collection in the temporary library space – yes) and some for studying (“I just like to have the real thing in front of me”).
- Students love post-it notes. Well, anything free, really. And the Orientation Leaders are amazing!
- Some students were sad that they couldn’t go up into the tallest academic building on campus (our old building that’s closed for renovation). I explained that it really wasn’t that awesome in there, detailing the a) fires b) elevator issues c) broken air conditioning d) ghosts.
- “Goth” is still “a thing.” And, they are still super nice.
Overall, an awesome day. How do you welcome students back to campus? What have you observed about the incoming freshmen?