February 16, 2018

At Fairfield University,Welcome to the Library (via Film, Podcast, Screencast)

By Andrew Albanese

  • An interactive film helps with library orientation
  • Podcasts introduce databases
  • A reading blog helps, too

Citing four multimedia projects that demonstrated a high level of “originality, content and design,” Fairfield University’s DiMenna-Nyselius Library has been honored with the first-ever Innovation Award from Connecticut Library Association (CLA). The award-winning innovations at Fairfield include:

  • An interactive library orientation film, Fairfield Beach: The Library (Fairfield is located in a beachfront community on the Long Island Sound); the production, a collaboration with the University’s Media Center, spoofs the TV soap opera, Laguna Beach, and proved a clever way to spice up required library orientation sessions for freshmen. Written by Ramona Islam, senior reference librarian and instruction coordinator, and Leslie Porter, formerly reference and instruction librarian, the film asks patrons to steer Julie, a college student, “through her complicated love life.” Using “clicker” technology, patrons get to select Julie’s relationship choices—and in doing so get a library tour.
  • A series of podcasts called “Meet the Databases” aims to “demystify” database searching. Inspired by their favorite radio shows—and motivated to move away from the typically dry descriptions of databases—librarians created “talking” databases using an iPod, a microphone, and GarageBand software. Excerpts of the podcasts served as library public service announcements on WVOF, the campus radio station.
  • A series of videos, “Screencasts,” were produced to serve the increasing number of students accessing library resources online, bolstering the library’s growing collection of “online how-to demonstrations of popular search tools.” They also serve students taking Fairfield’s distance learning and hybrid courses, offering 24/7 assistance anywhere.
  • The library’s reading blog was created to enrich the university’s summer reading program for freshmen last year—it garnered 4800 hits—an impressive number considering the freshmen class totaled just 812. Librarians also saw the blog as a way to reach out to freshmen before they arrived on campus.
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