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Outreach for Librarians: Introduction

21st Century Outreach for Innovative Librarians

Suggestions for Starting Off

Where do you start?  If you've never done programming before or trying to grow your program, this may seem overwhelming, so here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • Print off an empty calendar for the entire academic year.  Your schedule will fill up, and if you don't have events already on your calendar as a placeholder, you'll find it difficult to execute your plans.
  • Start by putting what you know on your calendar.  Are you going to do gaming in your library?  Put each event on the calendar.  Are you going to do Finals Stress Relief?  Block out those days.  
  • Know your budget.  Who is going to pay for supplies and how much money do you have at your disposal? 

Things to Keep In Mind

Schedule your events when you have the most students on campus.  I've found that 11 AM - 1 PM is the best time to engage students.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days for events.  If an event is on Monday, students forget about it over the weekend, but if you put an event later in the week, you can use Monday to remind students about your event.  There aren't as many students on campus on Fridays.


Why Library Outreach?

Library outreach goes beyond getting students into the library.  Sure, we have great resources.  Research shows that if students use the library resources and work with librarians that they will get higher grades and persist in college (Oliveira, 2018), but the library can be so much more, and librarians can have a greater impact!

Librarians = Faculty

Librarians are faculty, and faculty teach.  Librarians are in the unique situation with expanded opportunities to teach and fill in the gaps of student knowledge and abilities, and in doing so, we can help increase student retention, perseverance and "grit".

How to use this guide

It depends on where you are in your library outreach and always starts with what you want to accomplish in your library.  If you're a veteran event planner, jump in anywhere, but if you're just starting out, start by reading this page and moving towards "Quick and Easy" events as well as "Workshops".

Student Groups

While you don't have to have a student group to do library outreach, there are benefits to having one.  

Market Your Event

Here are some ideas for marketing your events:

  • Create a bulletin board with your events for the entire semester posted.
  • Does your campus have bulletin boards where anyone can post notices?  Make an 8 1/2 x 11 "poster" to advertise your event.
  • Ask your campus management if you can put tent cards in a highly trafficked area where students eat.
  • Collaborate with Student Life - especially if you have a student group - and have them promote your events.  If you have a student group, they now have their own "web page" where you can put your events.


Tools of the Trade

There are some additional supplies that you may need on a regular basis, and some of them can be easily found at a dollar store.

  • Pitchers - There are times when you need water to do an activity but don't have ready access to it.
  • Plastic bowls - Variety of sizes and shapes for serving
  • Plastic platters
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Paper plates and bowls
  • Plastic silverware
  • Colored pencils
  • Scissors 
  • Glue


  • Plastic - It's helpful to have disposable tablecloths to protect tables and make cleanup easier.
  • Library - For pop-up tables and other less messy events, it's beneficial to use a branded tablecloth to let everyone know who is putting on this event.


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Alexa Azzopardi
Houston Community College
Stafford Campus Library
10041 Cash Road, Room 155.1
Stafford, TX 77477

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