Information Update - Spring 2013
The Heritage Hunt: A Hands-On Library Orientation
- In the beginning of the fall semester, the library experimented with a new type of library orientation for incoming freshmen. In the past, freshmen would learn about the library through their freshmen seminar classes. Orientation came in the form of an in-class presentation by one of the librarians and could occur at any time throughout the fall semester. Because the one-credit freshmen seminars have recently been eliminated from the curriculum, the librarians needed a new way to orient all incoming freshmen to the library. The new library orientation, named the "Heritage Hunt," was meant to fill in a gap left by curriculum changes and the deletion of the one-credit freshmen seminar courses.
- The Heritage Hunt experimented with having the freshmen orient themselves by taking the form of a scavenger hunt. Before coming to campus, freshmen signed up for an orientation session that would fit into each person's unique schedule. Each session allowed a group of 24 freshmen to meet with a librarian, collaborate and socialize with classmates, and learn about the essential areas of the library. The scavenger hunt aspect of the Heritage Hunt involved the students being grouped together and sent on a mission to answer six questions. Each question could only be answered by reading a narrative that described library resources and services for each of the six major areas of the library: Access and Circulation Services, Periodicals, Circulating Book Collections, Reference Services, Media Resources Center, and Archives and Special Collections. One unique aspect of the Heritage Hunt was that each group would need to use an internet capable phone to search and locate a specific book in the library's collection. The students would then find the book in the collection, so that they could read the Circulating Book Collections narrative and answer one of the orientation questions.
- After reviewing student feedback, the librarians agreed that the Heritage Hunt should continue to be the library's main way of orienting incoming freshmen to the library. There were many benefits to hosting the Heritage Hunt over determining a new way to implement in class presentations by librarians once again. All sessions were completed within the first week of school, which was beneficial for both the librarians and the students. Completing all orientations in the first week assured that every freshman would be oriented to the library before they were in the thick of their studies.
After a successful first year, the 'Heritage Hunt' library orientation program will return in fall 2013.
- In addition, having all orientations completed in the first week freed up time for the librarians to work on other projects throughout the year and to further prepare for subject specific information literacy courses. In addition, students seemed to be more engaged in the orientation than in years past and they were able to socialize with their fellow freshmen.
- The next Heritage Hunt will likely see many improvements, which a group of librarians will work on throughout the spring semester. Some likely changes will include more use of smartphones to search for library resources, more questions, and replacing some of the written narratives with more interactive ways of sharing information about library resources and services to students.