By Dale Prentiss
Cathy Jones, a relatively new Instructional Services Librarian at Florida Southern College’s Roux Library, has been creative and ambitious in reaching out to faculty and promoting Gale digital resources on the college’s website—and we’d like to take a moment to celebrate that with the hopes that her experiences can also help you!
Outreach Approach #1. Faculty Emails.
We all know how busy faculty members are. We also know how important they are when it comes to driving database usage. Accordingly, Cathy collaborated with Gale Customer Care to help her create email templates aimed at getting the attention of the faculty regarding two new archive purchases for the college. This was the first method in her three-pronged approach.
Check out this snippet from the email she sent to the political science faculty:
Just-added collections that might interest you include:
Electing the President: Proceedings of the Republican National Conventions, 1856-1988(Nixon’s fascinating Chicago acceptance speech begins on p. 355 of the 1960 report)
FBI Surveillance of James Forman and SNCC (read FBI reports, including teletypes tracking Forman’s every movement)
Literature, Culture and Society in Depression Era America: Archives of the Federal Writers’ Project (part of our initial collection; read about Central Florida’s 1935 agricultural outlook starting on p. 152 in Florida: A Graphic Review of Florida Agriculture)
Feminism in Cuba: Nineteenth Through Twentieth Century Archival Documents (primarily in Spanish, over 14,000 pages provide a full spectrum view of the feminist movement in Cuba between Cuban independence and the end of the Batista regime)
We Were Prepared for the Possibility of Death: Freedom Riders in the South, 1961 (oh yes, they really did that: informants’ reports, arrest records, local law enforcement responses and FBI memos on every bus rider and simultaneous protests around the country, with employee and subject names redacted)
We hope you find our expanded Archives Unbound collection worthy of your own use as well as a source for student research. As always, please let me know if you’d like links and search tips for Archives Unbound built for your Research Guide for a particular course or an overall department resource for your students.[/alert-info]
Outreach Approach #2. Social Media.
The next prong in Cathy’s approach was all about promoting her library’s digital resources through social media. For instance, she posted this “NEW at ROUX!” notice on the library’s Facebook page when they purchased Gale’s Making of the Modern World archive:
[alert-info]Who knew that in 1698, the demise of the fancy button-making industry caused 6 year old children to lose their jobs, which “kept them from corruption”? Who knew that to cure a horse of the “staggers” one should bleed its neck and then feed it beer and bread? Who knew that there were at least 14 printings of “A Way to Get Wealth”? Who knew that one-third of all females above 10 years old in England in 1900 worked outside the home?
YOU would, if you are a Florida Southern College student, staff, alumni or faculty member, because you now have access to Gale’s The Making of the Modern World. Want to know more? Ask about it at Roux Library! [/alert-info]
And you know what? This approach really did work to get both students and faculty pumped about this new resource. Although FSC has an FTE around 2,200, its retrievals for Making of the Modern World ranked in the 100th percentile, world-wide, during the same month Cathy posted this notice.
Outreach Approach #3. Library Website.
Cathy’s final strategy involved customizing her library’s website (with the help of Gale Customer Care)to draw attention to six military-oriented Archives Unbound collections on a LibGuide targeted to her college’s ROTC students and instructors. It’s a cinch to create individual URLs using Gale’s bookmark function, but few libraries do this kind of targeted outreach to promote their collections.
Remember, Customer Care is here to help!
Dale Prentiss is a customer care consultant for academic libraries at Gale. His perspective is sympathetic to the academic librarians he works with: he has always been a research addict and a library lover; his love of learning led to a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford University; and he loves to teach (he’s also a Special Lecturer at Oakland University). In other words, he sees the role of librarian, faculty, and student pretty realistically.