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Outreach programs on university campuses are crucial to reducing anxiety in students from diverse backgrounds who may not have been introduced to an academic library environment, its resources, and its role in their academic success. Traditional liaison programs are geared towards students within their majors; as the campus evolves, so must the role of the liaison.
At the University of Alabama Libraries we have partnered with the Student Support Services (SSS) TRiO program, a grant-funded program through the U. S. Department of Education that works to increase the retention and graduation rates of first generation college students, students with limited family income, and students with disabilities. Boasting a 91% average retention rate, the program works with a broad spectrum of students. By the numbers, the students in the program are 65% female, 74% are low income and first generation, and 62% are Black or African American. The presenters, working in conjunction with the Academic Counselors in SSS, have created a comprehensive outreach program through which they are able to engage with the students on multiple levels while remaining cognizant of the pressures and needs of the individual students in the program.
In addition to open houses, instruction, and Libguides, the presenters have also secured spaces within the Student Support Services building during high traffic periods for visibility and ease of interaction. Meeting with students in familiar spaces provides them a comfortable way to interact and learn research skills, website navigation, and other services that the library provides. Once the student has established a relationship with the librarian, they are more likely to visit the library and utilize more library services, which contributes to the student’s overall academic success.
Outreach, TRIO, Student Support, First Generation Students
Information Literacy | Library and Information Science | Scholarly Communication
Pate, Jennifer and Erica England. Outreach to Student Support Services at the University of Alabama. American Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois. June 2017.