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Back to the Drawing Boards: A more inclusive approach to library orientation at Maynooth University Library Niall O'Brien

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In planning a first year library orientation session for September 2018, Maynooth University Library led an initiative to welcome new students to the Library in a more inclusive and experiential way. Rather than repeat the format of the previous year, a presentation which feedback indicated students found forgettable, we organised an interactive poster tour whereby small groups of students were brought around seven distinct poster boards by a library staff member.

Over the course of one week, 2,790 students were welcomed in small groups to the library space by a main presenter. After briefly welcoming the gathered groups, library staff members then discussed the library’s services with their gathered groups by spending several minutes at each of the seven boards, each one profiling a particular library initiative. The tour was organised to flow in a synchronised loop, so that when the main presenter gave the signal, each group moved to the next board. This resulted in a more personalised and interactive orientation experience for students. The tour was concluded by the presenter calling the groups to order again and playing a game (complete with prizes) based on the benefits of Boolean searching.

This initiative is indicative of wider efforts to reach out to new library users and make them feel connected to their library. It resulted in a greater level of engagement and enthusiasm from students compared to the induction offered previously. Furthermore, developing content for the boards afforded the Library team the opportunity to showcase how our services foster the critical skills that undergraduate students are expected to develop as part of their Maynooth University education. Attendees for this presentation will learn how orientation in an academic library has the potential to be much more immersive and inclusive than a traditional library tour or presentation.

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Back to the Drawing Boards: A more inclusive approach to library orientation at Maynooth University Library Niall O'Brien

  1. 1. STUDENT ORIENTATION 2017 •GATHERED GROUPS LISTENED TO A 15 MINUTE PRESENTATION ABOUT THE LIBRARY. •COMPREHENSIVE & SUCCINCTLY IDENTIFIED KEY LIBRARY SERVICES. •BUT - NOT A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019
  2. 2. A RETHINK FOR 2018? •COULD SERVICES BE HIGHLIGHTED IN A WAY THAT WAS MORE INTERACTIVE AND INCLUSIVE FOR STUDENTS? •WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR THE INDIVIDUAL GROUPS TO DO A TOUR IN THE SPACE ? AN IDEA IN PROGRESS… BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019
  3. 3. SETTING THE SCENE •LIBRARY TEAM DESIGNED CONTENT TO FILL 12 WHITEBOARDS (& 2 SELFIE FRAMES!) TO SHOWCASE OUR SERVICES. •STUDENT GROUPS ARRIVING AT EACH BOARD WOULD BE ABLE TO PROBE, QUESTION AND ENGAGE WITH THE CONTENT.
  4. 4. COME A’BOARD! •AS EACH OF THE 14 GROUPS ARRIVED, THEY WERE ASSIGNED TO ONE OF THE BOARDS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A LIBRARY STAFF MEMBER. •SMALLER GROUPS ALLOWED FOR A MORE PERSONALIZED WELCOME IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR OVERALL MESSAGE. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019
  5. 5. THE TWO MINUTE RULE •EACH GROUP SPENT 2 MINUTES AT EACH BOARD, LEARNING ABOUT AND DISCUSSING A KEY LIBRARY SERVICE, AND ROTATED 6 TIMES. •A TIMEKEEPER AT THE FRONT KEPT THE GROUPS MOVING IN A SEQUENTIAL LOOP BY MAKING AN ANNOUNCEMENT.
  6. 6. INFORMATION BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019 BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS
  7. 7. INTERACTIVE BOARDS BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019
  8. 8. PLAYING A GAME •POSTER TOUR ENDED WITH A BOOLEAN SEARCHING GAME EXPLAINING OUR PURPOSE AND RELEVANCE. •”KEEP YOUR HANDS UP IF… YOU ARE WEARING BLUE JEANS!” •OFFERED PRIZES, ENGAGED THE AUDIENCE, CONCLUDED THE TOUR. NIALL AND FIONA ACTING AS QUIZMASTERS BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019
  9. 9. THE “SOCIAL MEDIA” THING •SOCIAL MEDIA COMPETITION FOR ”BEST SELFIE” IN THE SELFIE FRAME. •MADE AN IMPRESSION, IF NOT THE RUNAWAY SUCCESS WE WERE HOPING FOR! BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019
  10. 10. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS LAI / CILIP IRELAND JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 10TH APRIL 2019
  11. 11. THANK YOU! •TO ALL MU LIBRARY STAFF WHO TOOK A CHANCE ON SOMETHING NEW AND HELPED MAKE IT HAPPEN. •TO LAI / CILIP IRELAND CONFERENCE ATTENDEES FOR LISTENING!MU LIBRARY STAFF ENJOYING SOME DOWN TIME! NIALL O’BRIEN, TEACHING AND LEARNING LIBRARIAN, MU LIBRARY - NIALL.OBRIEN@MU.IE - @NIALLDOBRIAIN

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