Reinventing Library Services for Undergraduates: Strategies for Reaching Millennial Students (Panel Session)

Susan Avery, Meg Burger, and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign comprised the panel for this session. They shared what they are doing to make the Undergraduate Library at UIUC more relevant to the lives of Millennials. Lisa played a new video that showcases what students can do at the Undergraduate Library. The postings by Shana Fair, Laurie Bridges, Amanda Izenstark, and Amy Harris on the conference blog provide a comprehensive picture of the session's content.

I had higher expectations for this session and was a bit disappointed by the lack of implementable ideas for my own library. I think my disappointment may be related to scalability. Or, maybe my Gen X cynicism is kicking in on what is and is not possible on an anemic materials budget.

Don't get me wrong, they did share great ideas.

"Restructure your space to reflect how millennials use space. Provide more room for collaboration, consolidate service points, provide as much public space as possible, provide for media viewing needs, develop virtual library spaces using blogs, wikis, Second Life, Facebook, or MySpace where they can interact with you. Inbed access to your resources in places they actually use. Look at your collections—don’t just limit yourself to purchasing text. Add e-books, graphic novels, gaming, increase your media collection" (from Shana's post)

Our blog is read, but doesn't receive many comments. Our Library had a Facebook profile, before the purge. A Facebook group for the Library was recently created, we'll see how that goes. We don't have a MySpace profile. We already buy a lot of media (DVDs and CDs) and have access to a lot of electronic content (including streaming+downloadable digital videos) through OhioLINK. We don't collect many graphic novels, but there is potential for use by the undergraduate and graduate education programs.

I'm not sure about buying games, due to previously mentioned anemic materials budget.  Not much can be done about the physical space of our building, other than weed, weed, weed, and weed some more to create more usable space.  I still think a lot of my disappointment goes back to scalability. I can't off-load low use books to another building on campus. I can weed it and rely on OhioLINK, which I already do to some extent. I think I still need to chew on the ideas discussed during this session.

The one idea that I believe is actionable locally is consolidating service points. Our reference desk is maybe 15 feet from our circulation/reserve desk. I started socializing the idea of merging the two over the summer at a staff meeting last week. Have any other small liberal arts college implemented a single service point? Is it working for your students?  Is it working for you?

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One thought on “Reinventing Library Services for Undergraduates: Strategies for Reaching Millennial Students (Panel Session)”

  1. I’m finally reading all your posts! I love your description of the materials budget: anemic. What a great term. 🙂

    Also, the idea of graphic novels is an interesting one. Perhaps we should add some more – in addition to the few we have.. at least, I think we added a few – and include them with the bestseller section we will hopefully add. Maybe just a small collection to see if there’s any interest.

    And we need to find a way to advertise our DVD collection. I have a feeling it would get a lot more use if only they knew what is available.

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