I was glad to meet Brian Mathews at ALA. I am impressed with his work bringing the library to his users at Georgia Tech. We got a chance to email recently — Brian provided some insight into his work for my Library Technology Report. Don’t miss this post:
This type of group provides academic librarians with an opportunity to “know thy user” but is also a chance to make a good first impression. I’ve started posting answers or responding directly to individuals on topics such as safety on campus and around Atlanta, laptop computer requirements, places to eat, the music scene, trolley and subway transportation, weather, and freshmen orientation sessions.
The students have responded favorably. At this phase their optimism is very high and they seem to like having a direct connection to the school. This illustrates the ubiquitous philosophy – that it doesn’t always have to be about the books, journals, and library services. There is a time for that and this is not that time. For me it is more about fitting into the community, finding genuine needs, and helping out when possible. Student success involves more than peer-reviewed journal articles and proper citation style.
This type of outreach enables us to position ourselves as an open, friendly, welcoming service environment. We’re Disneyland compared with the stress of financial aid, registration, and housing. (Free printing, café, fantastic air conditioning, comfortable couches, lots of computers, cool software, cool equipment.)
If you haven’t added Brian’s blog to your feeds, it’s a great read for those interested in outreach, marketing library services and innovation.