New Jersey Academic Librarians Reach Out to High School Students
By Katie Cohen, Ramapo College of New Jersey
This fall, academic librarians from across New Jersey reached out to high school students through the NJ Academic Libraries High School Outreach Panels, presented by NJLA CUS / ACRL-NJ and the New Jersey Association of School Libraries (NJASL). Through a series of virtual panel presentations, academic librarians spoke to high school students about the value of academic libraries. Facilitators led the discussions, which included questions from high school students, librarians and media specialists.
Six panel presentations were held, spread across Friday, October 22 and Friday, October 29. Three to five librarians presented on each panel, representing a total of twenty five academic libraries. This included representatives from 4 year and 2 year, and public and private institutions. Panel presenters were grouped based on their geographic location within the state, in order for particular sessions to appeal to high schools in certain areas.
The NJLA CUS / ACRL-NJ Marketing and Outreach Committee, led by Committee Chair Gary Marks (Reference and Outreach Librarian, William Paterson University), took charge of organizing the panels. This collaboration between the two organizations stemmed from early conversations between Librarian Neil Grimes, William Paterson University, Ewa Dziedzic-Elliot, Head Librarian at Lawrence High School and NJASL President-Elect, and Marks. The planning logistics included reaching out to academic librarians to serve as panelists and discussion facilitators, and high school librarians and media specialists to organize streaming the presentations to their students. Scheduling sessions so that high school students could attend was a crucial part of planning.
Organizers supplied panelists with a speaker preparation guide, allowing panelists to prepare talking points in advance. Prompts included questions such as:
Soon after the events, two distinct surveys were sent to academic librarians and high school librarians. The goal of the surveys was to assess the panel presentations from the point of view of presenters and participants. Among other questions, both groups were asked, "Do you think your participation as a college librarian on the panel helps demonstrate the importance of school media specialists and information literacy/research skills to high school administrators and stakeholders?" Librarians were also asked if they would like future programs like this collaboration between NJLA CUS/ACRL-NJ and NJASL. Feedback has been positive, and hopefully we will see more collaborations between academic and high school librarians in the near future.
Chapters Council Roster
Alison Marie Larsen
Eric Anthony Edwards
Carrie E. Dunham-LaGree