Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Freshmen Library Tours

New and eager students will flood the campus soon. This typically means high energy and excitement as well as a fresh round of library tours. Many libraries throughout the country have innovated in this area of freshmen orientation. Recently, several posts to the Information-Literacy and Instruction listserv have focused on the different ways librarians have introduced incoming freshmen to the academic library. At Cornell College's Cole Library in Mt. Vernon, IA, they give ice cream; cones were donated by a local bank wanting to get publicity. Peer tutors guided them to different "stations" of the library where they learned about the function of that part of the library and entered their names into raffles.

Students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Library divide into groups before they go to different parts of the library to answer questions. When they return, the larger group goes on the tour, and those students who answered questions give the tour to their peers while the librarian stands to the side, periodically contributing additional information. Students, then, teach each other about the library. Apparently, instructors and students have enjoyed this.

In the California State University at Stanislaus Library they will be playing golf in the library to help their students improve their putts and knowledge of the library building and resources. A guide shows them where to tee off, inserting useful information about the library. On the east coast, the University of South Carolina Upstate Library incorporates an iPod into the tour as well as a worksheet for them to fill out. Students must travel around the library and complete various tasks, including copy articles of interest out of encyclopedias, magazines, and reference books as well as answer questions regarding the library services and resources.

Here, at Idaho State's Oboler Library we conduct traditional tours to familiarize students with our library. We hope students will understand better what the library offers--more than just books--and have a positive experience that will draw them back to ask us questions and take advantage of the study space, the books, the computers, the videos, the services, etc. If you want a tour of the Eli M. Oboler Library, please contact me to arrange a time and date. jardspen(at)

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