User Education and Outreach

Written by Cary Reynolds, Reference Assistant

One of the principal challenges faced by academic libraries is the fundamental change in the way students and researchers procure information. Since online resources are available off-campus and around-the-clock, many students who formerly needed to come to the library to complete assignments now opt for studying at home. At Regent, even research assistance is now available instantly through our Reference IM service. All these possibilities have called into question the library’s traditional role as the heart of the university.

To bridge the gap between the academic and social lives of students, academic libraries are developing creative forms of education and outreach. Examples of some of the Library’s outreach programs include our Constitution Day celebrations, National Library Week luncheon with guest speakers, the Library Book Club, and our upcoming 25th Anniversary.

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Advances in information technology have also placed a new emphasis for the Library faculty on research instruction. The Library’s Databases webpage now lists 183 subscription databases and other online applications. To help students and faculty make the most of these resources, the librarians are increasingly focused on developing effective instructional methods, including on and off-campus workshops, automated Web tutorials, and one-on-one consultations, both in person and via the telephone. The Library’s Information Research & Resources class is also revised annually to provide the most up-to-date content and user-friendly interface.

Outreach programs extend to the faculty as well. Regent librarians serve as liaisons between the Library and the University’s schools. They work with faculty and deans to select new resources and develop instruction strategies for enhancing the quality of student research. Since University faculty, no less than students, can find it difficult to keep up with the latest resources, Regent Librarians also offer private consultations customized to individual faculty needs.

In all of its education and outreach programs, the Library seeks to give the Regent community a reason to want to visit us, either on-campus or online. Experience has shown us that the key to this goal is combining innovative programs with the best possible resources and services.

Cary Reynolds is a reference assistant at the Library information desk. She completed her MS in Library and Information Science at Syracuse University in May 2008.