How to Increase Engagement in Your University Library

Modern colleges have transformed their libraries into centers for digital media and engagement. As a result, librarians must promote creativity, exploration, and independent thinking in new formats. The explosion of technology has not undermined libraries, contrary to popular belief. In fact, they allow schools to be more adaptive in how they serve students.

Universities must encourage students to engage with the library as they return to campus. This post will cover ways to make sure your library is innovative, engaging, and a priority for your institution.

1. Host university events in your library

As we return to in-person classes after a long period of isolation, your library is a great place to host events and promote safe gatherings for students. Many creative event ideas are available, but your choice will depend heavily on your student body and what they find appealing.

Students are often inspired by alumni sharing stories and experiences about their life in the real world at "Meet the Grads" events. The students who have graduated from your school have probably gone on to be innovative founders, artists, activists, and other prominent figures in society. It’s more important than ever for students to envision what they can do after graduation and have hope for their future.


2. Add a modern coffee bar

Cafes are a great place to socialize, hold meetings, and work quietly, making them the perfect addition to any university library. Plus, college students are fueled by caffeine, so adding a hip coffee bar to your library will make it a destination for students before, during, and after classes.

Every town or city tends to have a favorite local roastery, so offering a familiar coffee brand is a major draw for students. Next, consider the tastes, budget, and preferred hangouts of your student body. Using this information, you can design the most appealing coffee offering and setup that’s sure to draw the crowds.


3. Facilitate workshops and faculty events

Workshops and lecture series have long been a staple in colleges. Here are a few events that can keep the library at the forefront of students' minds when it comes to innovative ideas and expanding their horizons:

  • TED talks
    Everyone has seen TED talks, but did you know that your school can host one? Gather bright, unique, thought-provoking speakers and easily host an event that can garner lots of attention and even viral social media posts.

  • Peer advisor workshops
    Peer advisors are simply upperclassmen who can guide younger students on internships, graduate programs, and job interviews. Workshops in your library are an excellent opportunity for students who want to share their knowledge and receive guidance from those who have gone before them.

  • Mini-career fairs and recruiting events
    While most career fairs occur in large auditoriums or gymnasiums, hosting smaller recruiting events in your library can be more intimate and effective. Employers will appreciate the quality of interactions, and the students will feel less overwhelmed by the competition.

4. Create a relaxing test center

Making the library feel more like a student union and gathering place is a great way to get foot traffic back when students return to campus. Provide your students with a quiet, comfortable, ADA-compliant testing center where they can complete paper and online exams.

Your library will become the go-to location for students taking online courses, advanced standing tests, and make-up exams. Clearly display your office hours and contact information so students can get in touch with you when they have questions or need to schedule exams.

Investing in the right online proctoring solutions for your exams will add to the comfort and ease students feel in your testing center. For the best student experience, invest in a proctoring solution with readily available tech support that integrates with your existing LMS.


5. Host viewing parties

The rise of smartphone film festivals suggests that budget-friendly film production is the way of the future. Is there anyone more in need of easily accessible, affordable equipment than college students?

A smartphone film festival isn't just for film students. Decide on a theme, and provide submission guidelines such as length and topic. A viewing party will be held in the library for the winners' films.

Organize a panel discussion where students can ask questions about the meaning and creative process of films. Events like these encourage students to take part in creative activities at the library.


The bottom line on increasing library engagement

Library shelves and the Dewey Decimal no longer define the library. You’re more likely to see laptops and flatscreen televisions nowadays, but libraries remain essential in universities. Having a dynamic library affects not just librarians but students' academic performance and engagement.

Turn your library into a multimedia hub where students can acquire knowledge in a variety of ways. Accomplish this by adding a hip coffee bar, hosting events with speakers and entrepreneur alums, and allowing students to showcase their digital creations. By turning your library into a comfortable, relaxing testing area, you attract more students looking to study and perform well on exams. Investing in the library is a win-win for universities.


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