Academic librarians spend most of their time working with faculty and students to promote library services. With all the attention these groups require, it is easy to overlook campus support staff as potential users of library resources and advocates for library services. Staff providing student and financial services, grounds or building maintenance, administrative support, or food service may not be obvious library users, but you might be surprised about their information needs and the resources you might have to help them.
LearningExpress Library is a resource provided to Oregon libraries by the Statewide Database Licensing Program. It provides standardized test preparation materials, career and employment resources, computer and other skill building tutorials. In many ways, this resource has something for everyone, and this point was brought home to me at a training session the State Library provided at a community college campus. Hoping to boost attendance at the session, the local librarian sent out an invitation to all campus staff. While it was not surprising to see staff from the student services office attend the training, we were delighted to see general administrative staff and maintenance staff also show up.
Student services staff were interested in career placement and assessment tools available, and well as skill building tutorial available in math, reading, grammar and writing for the students they worked with. The administrative staff member was looking for resources to help her daughter study for the SAT and was also excited to see the job search tools available through Job and Career Accelerator. The maintenance staff member was looking for opportunities for self-improvement and was thrilled to see tutorials for Excel and Adobe Photoshop. It’s a librarian’s dream to get resources into the hands of users when they need them, and this session really inspired me to think about the value of LearningExpress Library as tool for outreach beyond the usual library user groups.
If campus staff feel that the library is welcoming source of information and support in their own lives, they are certainly more likely to spread the word to the faculty and students they interact with every day. Consider cultivating these untapped library champions as part of your outreach strategy.
Please contact Arlene Weible to arrange a training session for your campus.
Electronic Services Consultant
State Library of Oregon