Making Libraries stick

If you had one chance to deliver one message to undergraduates about your library, what would the message be?

I just participated in a pedagogy workshop (put on by the super talented Doree Allee of the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning). One of our assignments was to determine the most important message we want to get across in our library workshops, and then use the principles from Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to stick : why some ideas survive and others die to create a “sticky message”.

I work with a group that provides information literacy workshops for all the freshman writing classes, so we get one shot at every student — and we take that responsibility quite seriously (hence the pedagogy workshops every summer).

So, what is our central message? What one idea do we want to make stick?
I think we should have a ready answer for that, but am finding myself really wrestling with the question.
I know that our main message is not about boolean searching, or truncation, or even the difference between keywords and subject headings. Sometimes I find myself wishing that students would just remember to use the catalog for books and databases for articles …. but that is not a very “sticky” message, and will hopefully not always be true.

What is our big message? Some ideas:
The library has cool stuff
Use the library for better research
When you care enough to read the very best (credit=Hallmark)

I would love to hear what others think a library’s big message should be.

3 Responses to “Making Libraries stick”

  1. 1 Jerry Persons July 23, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    libraries … *your* dreck filter


  2. 2 thedonofpages July 19, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    The Library is the place to find real answers to your questions.


  3. 3 James July 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    an intriguing question and difficult to put into a pithy phrase. I think the library is the nexus of culture, society, research and information expertise, the *place* where knowledge and inquiry meet. Here’s a good article on Ranganathan’s 5 laws of library science and how they apply to digital information ( Michael Gorman updated/reinterpreted Ranganathan’s laws to be:

    1. Libraries serve humanity.
    2. Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated.
    3. Use technology intelligently to enhance service.
    4. Protect free access to knowledge; and
    5. Honor the past and create the future

    Everything we do as information professionals should embody these laws, and that includes instruction. That’s about as pithy as I can be :-)


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