Grassroots Outreach to Foster a Diverse Community

Grassroots Outreach to Foster a Diverse Community

Elizabeth Ann Ramsey (Boise State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3914-8.ch035
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This exploration of an academic library's outreach efforts presents a broad overview of a range of initiatives aimed at fostering interaction with library staff and resources. These efforts are put forth by a variety of contributors from throughout the library's staff without a management mandate or day-to-day control. Although these grassroots outreach efforts cost little to nothing, they still act to effectively inculcate a campus-wide perception of the library as a forward-thinking, inclusive and supportive institution while generating a welcoming atmosphere for diverse users. This atmosphere in turn fosters a learning and research community that sees the library as an important contributor to its success. This chapter describes the foundations for this type of outreach as well as giving examples of a number of innovative methods Albertsons Library at Boise State University uses to provide meaningful opportunities for its users to interact with staff, services and resources in a way that cultivates a feeling of inclusion in the community.
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In their research Carter & Seaman established a working definition of outreach in two parts: services such as reference, research consultations, library resources and the library space, and promotion of those services (2011). This definition is quite applicable to Albertsons Library, for which outreach encompasses activities in circulation, reference, instruction, collection development and liaison work as well as the more traditional programming and marketing. In other words, for Albertsons Library, outreach is anything that fosters engagement by the community to participate actively in the library.

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