The problem with our traditional approaches were always the same – the message was hard to convey when it comes from staff or Librarians to students. Getting that buy-in from the students seemed to be harder and harder for us, so we looked to the students themselves! We put the word out that we were looking for some engaging students who wanted to help spread the word about library services and resources and have some fun while doing it. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from them and has been pleasantly surprising in how they have approached it! The students we’ve recruited and trained have consistently asked to take on more and more the further we have gone into the program. We started with simply giving them the basics on the different areas of our library so they could be knowledgeable when approached and help us with face to face interactions but it has grown well beyond that. Early opportunities ranged from manning info tables in our corridor to walking in the Homecoming parade or getting people to participate in things like our Bookface contest.
Over the course of the summer we worked with our marketing team and the ambassadors to create a presentation for them to take “on the road”. We did it with the idea that it had to be simple, fun, and not too long in order to hold the attention of the audience. The prezi that we crated is focused on our current marketing campaign “Your Academic Success Starts Here” which builds on a larger campaign we have been using that encourages students to “Connect, Collaborate….Succeed!” with us. We have tied it all together in a prezi that our Ambassadors will be presenting to Residence Hall Councils, and RSO’s across campus this year. We’re also sending along a librarian to field any questions that may go beyond the expertise of our Ambassadors. While we created the presentation, the Ambassadors have really taken ownership of it. We purposely made it generic and asked them to each put their own twist and flair on it – make it personal to them. In the end, they tie the connecting and collaborating into their own personal story of success using the Library. By being able to show their peers how the Library helped them, we hope it will inspire others to do the same.
By the end of the semester I hope to report back with metrics gathered from these presentations to show how well this all went. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for the presentations for different groups on campus already and the Ambassadors are excited to get out there and do their thing.