by Amanda Peters and Emily Hamstra
For the last 20 years the University of Michigan Library has worked with the Office of New Student Programs to host presentations during Freshmen Orientation. Every Monday through Thursday, early June to early August, roughly 130 students (over 6,000 students per summer) come to the library for presentations about the library, campus computing, and student involvement and study abroad opportunities.
Last year, we updated the library presentation to make the presentation more interactive and visual. We used Comic Life to create a choose-your-own-adventure-type narrative using Prezi and i>clicker. The i>clickers are easy to use, and help to bring energy to the presentation. Using the i>clickers, students choose different options for a student character, Peggah, throughout the presentation. This allows us to gauge the interests of the students. The presentation follows Peggah through a day at the library as she researches for a project. We focus on library study spaces, services for research and technology help, and collections of particular interest to undergrads. Over time we’ve realized that this type of presentation is more useful to students at orientation than a detailed hands-on session with library resources. Students come to orientation with a lot on their minds, and our main goal with this presentation is to let students know that the library is open and available to them.
One of the great successes of the presentation has been an increase enrollment in our one-credit information literacy course, UC 174. This course is highlighted in the presentation with a video, featuring student actors. Students register for classes the next day, so this is an opportune moment for us to market the course.
Every few years our orientation presentation needs to change, because our students are changing. Although the message we deliver is always similar, the way we present the information needs to evolve with our students.