SUNConferences, LIASA 2013

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Library dialogue with first year students: enhancing the user experience
Phindile Bekwa

Last modified: 2014-01-25


First year orientation programs provide academic libraries with an ideal platform to becomemore innovative and proactive in marketing library resources and services to first timeclients. The new generation of students prefers learning by doing through independentdiscovery rather than sitting and listening. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how theWitwatersrand Health Sciences Library (WHSL) planned, conducted and experienced theorientation of first year Health Sciences Students. WHSL created an environment where thestudents interacted with peers, librarians, and the faculty at large by using the library staff as‘Libguides’, and the Libguides presentation to market the library’s resources, whilesimultaneously welcoming the students. The library staff Libguides were assisting andguiding the students throughout the orientation program. The presentation was used tointroduce students to the “WHSL New Students Guide” accessed at The Library staff Libguides made the wholeorientation program unique at WHSL.An interactive approach in the orientation of first year students by the library may be anideal way to effectively engage the students and at the same time market the libraryresources. The WHSL approach created an environment for the new students toindependently explore the library resources and also put the idea of Embedded Librarianshipinto practice. There were a number of lessons learnt from the approach which can be used byother academic libraries.