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"Why do freshmen visit the reference desk?"


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This "electronic poster presentation" displays my research on bringing freshman to the reference desk at academic libraries. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Published in: Education
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"Why do freshmen visit the reference desk?"

  1. 1. Why do freshmen visit the reference desk? Karen Sobel Reference & Instruction Librarian University of Colorado Denver
  2. 2. Mentioning reference services during instruction is very effective! 53.5% 30.9% Have not learned about reference services during an instruction session 46.5% 69.1% Have learned about reference services during an instruction session Have not used reference services Have used reference services
  3. 3. Why do we need to know? <ul><li>It’s easy to collect data on who visits a reference desk. It’s more difficult to determine why they visit the desk. </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding attitudes and motivations can help us better encourage more students to use reference services. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Who are today’s freshmen? <ul><li>Traditional freshmen —17 to 19 years old, enrolled full time, often live on campus, typically have parents who attended college, generally tech-savvy </li></ul><ul><li>Nontraditional freshmen —starting or returning to school after years in the workplace, often have spouses or children, often the first in their families to attend college, possibly unfamiliar with computer technologies </li></ul><ul><li>My research focused on a traditional population. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What attitudes do freshmen bring to college? 78.6% think a librarian can “probably” or “definitely” help with their questions.
  6. 6. What attitudes do freshmen bring to college?
  7. 7. Freshmen’s awareness of various methods of promotion of reference services 37.10% Other verbal or visual advertisement 30.40% “ Ask A Librarian” link on a library Web page 18.10% Verbal pitch during an instruction session Percentage of subjects answering “yes”   Have you noticed each of the following methods of promotion?
  8. 8. The Power of Verbal Promotions <ul><li>Percentages of subjects who had been influenced to visit the reference desk by… </li></ul><ul><li>Librarian, during instruction: 8.4% </li></ul><ul><li>Professor, as a requirement: 16.5% </li></ul><ul><li>Peer, as an informal recommendation: 9.7% </li></ul><ul><li>This was all within the first month of college! </li></ul>
  9. 9. What are some lessons we can take away? <ul><li>Students respond well to face-to-face recommendations. </li></ul><ul><li>Freshmen have a fairly positive attitude about how librarians perceive them. </li></ul><ul><li>Visual advertisements work well, too—but there must be a human face behind the service they advertise. </li></ul>
  10. 10. For more information, please visit: Contact me at [email_address] Thanks for visiting!