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Reference, Instruction, and Outreach (RIO)

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of library reference, instruction, and outreach.

Meeting Overview

12 attendees joined us for this meeting, with Johanna Mackay from Skidmore College leading our discussion about marketing and outreach. Attendees shared their institution's marketing and outreach programs, and discussed suggestions and ideas about new ones.

It was noted that outreach can mean different things for different types of libraries. For example, it can mean reaching underserved groups, instead of the general user population on the whole.

The College of Saint Rose designed an ad campaign called "Get Ahead of the Game" for all incoming students as part of orientation. Students completed tasks such as tagging the library's whiteboards, sending a postcard home, pinning a large map to show where they came from, liking the library on social media and taking a selfie in the library for entry into a raffle to win prizes. During "Stress Free Week" Saint Rose's library offered massage therapists, therapy dogs, a bubble wrap popping party, and a very successful student-led "slime making party".

Skidmore College had a Great Pumpkin challenge for the students to create literary-themed pumpkins. They also engaged in stress relief during their finals week. They also had a Research-a-Thon using an online quiz and giving prizes to participants. It was pointed out that posters can be effective methods of reaching out, sometimes getting better results than social media.

Union College held a Research Cafe. They got the idea from College and Research Library News which had an article about Literacy Cafes. For the program, a group of faculty got together and discussed how they conduct their research projects. They try to get participants from across the different types of programs at their college. They have another program called What's Your Story with readings being done from submitted requests, either from the requestor or from a member of the theater department.

Southern Adirondack Library System discussed how some of their libraries distribute food and/or meals to the people in their districts.

Albany Public Library hosts local history events.

Hudson Valley Community College gives out meritorious service awards. They also have a food pantry on campus.

It was suggested that surveys and focus groups be conducted before planning outreach or marketing. It is helpful to determine what a library's patrons actually want.

Speed databasing was discussed, as well as the local infomingles.


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