‘Research rally’ to promote use of library facilities and resources

By Kelly Gibbs

Don’t be surprised to see walking books at the Undergraduate Library this Homecoming weekend.

The library will be hosting a “Research Rally” from 7-8:30 p.m., which is designed to raise awareness of the many valuable library resources available to students.

During the rally, Bob the Book, a giant book mascot, will be passing out candy and taking pictures with students on the main floor of the Undergraduate Library. In addition, a presentation of past University yearbooks will be displayed in the main entrance. They will be there in part to showcase the millions of volumes of material that are available in the University Library. This also demonstrates the expansive library archives and welcomes alumni who may be visiting campus.

Katie Stuart, a senior in FAA and library employee, thinks the yearbook display is an especially good way to reach out not only to students but also alumni who may visit the Undergraduate Library during Homecoming festivities.

“Displaying the yearbooks is a friendly welcome to alumni as well as an important statement that the Undergraduate Library still honors their memory and contributions as students,” Stuart said.

Jim Hahn, Orientation Services librarian and head of library Homecoming activities, suggested that this event is designed primarily to connect with students early in the year to promote University library facilities.

Hahn himself had dressed in the Bob the Book costume for Quad Day and passed out Frisbees to create awareness of library resources, as well as reassure new students that the library is a welcoming and not intimidating environment. “We want old and new students to feel welcomed to the Undergraduate Library early in the year,” Hahn said. “We especially want to eliminate any ‘library anxiety’ and let students know this can also be a fun place.”

Logan Moore, a graduate assistant and employee at the Undergraduate Library, also thinks this event has worked well in past years to connect with undergraduate students.

“The Research Rally helps to engage students and raise awareness of library facilities,” Moore said. “Any opportunity we have to advertise services is a great opportunity.”

Another goal of the Research Rally is to promote an online AOL Instant Messenger service the Undergraduate Library provides in order to answer questions directly from library staff. This way students have the opportunity to experience the benefits of Undergraduate Library resources even if they are not utilizing the facility. Help options are available through the Web site, www.library.uiuc.edu/askus, where students have the opportunity to chat live with a library assistant.

“This service is so incredibly valuable to students because it eliminates the middleman, instead of relying on student-to-student transition hearsay,” Hahn said. “This library resource allows students to obtain first-hand responses from library faculty.”