Academic library and school partnerships are one way to connect a university campus with the surrounding community. This poster presentation will inspire librarians at other schools to build bridges to future students of higher education with an educational (and fun!) campus experience.
library outreach, middle school students, community partnerships
The New Frontier of Academic Library Outreach: Middle School Students Research Visits
In some towns, the university campus and surrounding community exist as silos. They may be co-located in the same region but never interact in a meaningful way. One academic library changed all that by offering local schools the opportunity for all-day library research visits with students as young as those in middle grades. The visits featured a brief instruction session with the Outreach Librarian tailored to the assignment and skills, along with ample time for individual research, and down-time with coffee in the library café and lunch in the campus dining hall. This poster presentation will inspire librarians at other schools to build bridges to future students of higher education with an educational (and fun!) campus experience.
This collaborative project has benefited students, librarians, and teachers alike. Students are exposed to a larger library building similar to one they will use in their academic futures and the myriad of reliable information resources available. Teachers are no longer limited to resources only available at their school libraries or on potentially unreliable internet sites. In areas where public school funding dollars are thinly stretched, the academic library and by extension, their campus, can share resources with children who might not otherwise come to campus. For the University Library, visits by middle school students give academic librarians the opportunity to promote its services to the community and is an effective enrollment management tool for the University in connecting with future students. The visits also provide University students with service opportunities working with area school children. Most importantly, however, work with these younger students expose academic librarians to the ways in which these future students of higher education gather, evaluate and use information.