Finals Fairy: A Failure?

This past week was finals week at DeSales and students were appropriately stressed; many students seemed to live in the library.  We try to give students a way to relieve their stress and have some fun in between their intense study sessions.  We had some success with a coloring competition in the past, but decided to step up our game this semester.  We followed the lead of librarians at Lafayette College, Salisbury University, and Michigan State University and introduced our campus to the #TrexlerFinalsFairy.  We were hoping that treats hidden around the library would be received well and that students would enjoy sharing their findings with others through our hashtag.  We envisioned many students finding the Trexler Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and our social media audience widening.

We apparently did not have realistic expectations.  We were extremely disappointed when only five students posted the success of their findings.  We had 64 packages floating around the library and so little response!  We even found some of the packages in the trash.  The majority of students didn’t seem to be interested in the stress balls, pencils, finger mustache temporary tattoos, or candy!  The five students who did post made us smile, so I include them here.one finals fairy response

We aren’t certain why the Finals Fairy didn’t provide us with the social media boost for which we had hoped.  It wasn’t for lack of finals fairy.PNGadvertising, I made a few posters that were put on social media and hung throughout the library.  finals fairy promo It wasn’t because there was a shortage of students or gifts.  Perhaps we just didn’t pick the right
gifts?  In the end, we decided that our endeavors weren’t a complete failure because we made a few students happy and showed them we care.

I am interested to know if other libraries have had more success with efforts to make finals fun…

The One Button Studio: Pushing a button has never harder

One of the newest tools housed within the Trexler Library is our One Button Studio.  The One Button Studio is a video recording platform created by Penn State University that allows students to easily record videos.  And it is VERY EASY.  So much so that our biggest problem is that students are trying to over-complicate the recording process.

Here is how it goes:

  1.  Student books the room, checks out key to room (security precautions), and enters room.
  2. Student puts FAT formatted flash drive into a USB slot. Studio lighting and camera flash to life.
  3. Student hits a button and the countdown begins… 5,4,3,2,1… record!
  4. Student records video.
  5. Student hits button and the recording stops.
  6. Recording is formatted in a few seconds.
  7. Student takes flash drive with correctly formatted video presentation to class.

This tool is streamlined to be easy and to provide a simple service.  However, students were constantly zooming the camera in and out, making it in need of frequent librarian repair.

We decided to make a poster.  one button studio

We are a Catholic University, so we thought that this was an appropriate means of conveying best practices for the One Button Studio.  Since it has been up, we haven’t had one instance of students changing the settings of the camera.

Statistics and Assessment (and how they’ve changed my career path)

One of the things that I really appreciate about librarianship in higher education is the current focus on assessment.  From the ACRL’s Assessment in Action programming to my own Library Director’s collection of statistics on every facet of the library’s use and facilities, librarianship is a number-based profession.  I enjoy having a foundation of facts to back up my own work, and am working more and more on writing learning objectives and collecting assessment information for each class that I teach.  Obviously, this isn’t a change from any other way of doing things (because I’ve been doing this librarian thing for 8 months), but I have made it a priority in my work.

Collecting information on the learning process, the use of our databases, the number of students in the library, the length of librarian reference assistance, etc. generates a lot of numbers.  The resulting challenge has to do with the relationship between data, information, and knowledge.  All of these numbers, on their own, are of no use to anyone.  Given a bit of context they become enlightening, but are still not very valuable if they sit in a file in the depths of a network drive.  Somehow we need to get get the numbers within a contextual setting that provides them meaning and gets them into the minds of our patrons and administrators.  Graphic design has become a
stats infographic fun way to get our statistics in front of the patron population.  Our administration also receives statistics much more positively in a colorful poster format.  No one is above being influenced by a good design done in pleasing colors.

Librarian Design Share has been exceedingly helpful to me because they provide me with a platform to receive peer feedback, and also have great ideas about projects, techniques, and tools.   I decided to utilize Adobe Illustrator for my design endeavors, primarily because it was provided by the University and didn’t take me too long to feel comfortable within the work space.  Most of my time working on poster or infographic design is time spent happily in the library.  I enjoy the process, the change of pace, and the opportunity to be creative.  This is a component of my job that surprises and delights me.  I did not realize that I would have this opportunity, but I hope to continue to progress throughout my career.