[The following program proposal is part of an ongoing series on Reinventing the Academic Library. It is intended as an example of the kinds of things librarians supporting a research-intensive university can do.]
Librarians Provide Personal Service to Improve Freshmen Retention
Upon acceptance each freshmen is assigned their own concierge librarian. Within their first weeks on campus, a student meets with his or her librarian to review how students can use the university’s resources and systems (in and beyond the library) to succeed. They review course syllabi and development approaches to excel.
The librarian walks students through the often arcane mix of bursars and registrars and course management; cutting through the complexity of the university.
Further Talking Points
Librarians and library staff can help retain students, and bridge academic gaps in students moving from high school to college. Where most freshmen retention initiatives are school or departmental based, the library can reach across the entire university. Imagine a class on “Hacking the University.” Students work in small teams or one-on-one with librarians to understand ALL the information systems they are likely to encounter – from bursar to enrollment to dining. Not only can librarians prepare incoming students for the onslaught of web sites they face, but they can provide computing services with direct feedback to improve the student experience.
By building an early relationship with students outside of classes, librarians can become trusted sources of information. Librarians can also work to help diagnose learning issues and coordinate with tutoring services in the learning commons.
Once this relationship has been built, librarians become dependable resources for students in their everyday work. This allows librarians to introduce students to norms and advances in scholarly communications. Rather than a class on peer-review, or how Wikipedia is evil (it’s not), librarians can teach students about reliability and searching strategies (including when Wikipedia makes sense, and when what at first appears to be peer-review isn’t always a gold standard).