The Library Dean's Excellence Fund is aptly named because the goal is to provide funding that will allow the library to provide excellent service. This fund allows for the Dean's discretion for pilot projects, staff development and opportunities that are not funded in the general, annual budget.
The Library is continuously looking for ways to connect with university students and to engage them with Library services, programming, and resources that may help to enrich and support their educational experiences. The Tommy G’s Haunted House is a relatively new tradition with over 500 students participating in 2014 and some amazing staff costumes which were fun for everyone throughout the day.
This year our Outreach Librarians, Cat Silvers and Maria Atilano added the Pumpkin Carving Contest, which occurred the day before the Open House during the Market Day at the Student Union. “This outreach event was a great opportunity to connect with students who may not be regular Library users,“ saidCat Silvers. The carved pumpkins were put on display in the Library for voting during the Open House and prizes were awarded to those who carved the winning pumpkins.
The Open House includes morning donuts, pizza lunch and an afternoon cookie break. Similar to the WoW Breakfast event, library staff conducted short surveys to assess which students use the Library, how often they use the Library, and what improvements we can make to better meet their needs. The surveys are done on an iPad and takes only a few minutes while students are waiting in line. Lisandra Carmichael, Director of Public Services thinks the surveys are particularly important because “Librarians can use the data to make evidence-based decisions about future library services and programming that better address student needs.”
Maria Atilano explained, “Outreach has become an increasingly major priority for libraries across the country and the UNF Library specifically, as we are trying to engage students who need to include the Library as part of their educational experience. These fun and stress free activities attract students to the Library and once they are here, we can help then with their studies.” Since voting occurred on the Library’s Facebook page, this promoted the library’s social media accounts while encouraging students to connect with the Library online.
The library hosts a welcome breakfast to introduce students to the library at the beginning of the semester. In addition to pastries, fruit and juice, tote bags with packets of information are available. The Library Dean, librarians and staff take time to get acquainted with students and to answer their questions about services. Our goal is to create a comfortable academic environment where students know that we are their partners in achieving their goals. The breakfast is funded through the Library Foundation.