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?

technorati tag:

National Freshman Attitudes Report

Steven Bell wrote about the National Freshman Attitudes Report on The Kept Up Academic Librarian. The report is based on an attitudinal survey administered in the fall to 97,626 first years as they arrived on campus by Noel-Levitz. Questions asked about intellectual interest show that:

  • 57% feel that books have helped them grow intellectually or creatively
  • 47% derive a lot of satisfaction from reading
  • 40% don't like to read scholarly materials and only do so when required
  • 40% do not take any pleasure in reading books 
  • Students at 4 year private IHEs had slightly better attitudes than students at 4 year public IHEs
  • Female students had better attitudes than male students 

New Pew Report on Millennials

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press has released a new report on Millennials attitudes, A Portrait of "Generation Next": How Young People View Their Lives, Futures and Politics. They are defining Generation Next to be those born between 1981 and 1988. The data comes from a survey conducted in September 2006 and from data collected in earlier polling.  The report includes comparisons with polling of previous generations to show how attitudes are shifting over time.

The uniqueness of this report is the compilation of technology and social software usage data with their views on their lifestyle, politics, religion, and social issues. Some of the findings include:

  • 80% talk to their parents daily and 75% see their parents weekly
  • 50% have modified their body with a tattoo or piercing
  • 20% have little or nothing to do with religion
  • 33% pay attention to politics "most of the time"
  • 48% identify as Democratic Party and 35% as Republicans
  • 40% feel that as a citizen they have a "duty" to vote
  • 23% read the newspaper
  • 67% feel that immigration is good for the country
  • 74% support privatizing Social Security [They obviously didn't loose their 401K when the Internet bubble burst a few years back…]
  • 47% support gay marriage