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Teach Where They Live: New Opportunities for Library Instruction and Outreach in Residence Halls

By Michelle Bishop
Acting Coordinator of Reference
Penfield Library, State University of New York, Oswego

It was 7:30 p.m. and the student actors were beginning to arrive to review their roles for the “Experience World Libraries” workshop that would start in 30 minutes. As a live-in Faculty Resident Mentor in Hart Hall at SUNY Oswego, I had designed the workshop as an experiential learning activity meant to illustrate the critical role libraries around the world play in facilitating access to information. It was rewarding to see that after going through the three scenarios, students were actively discussing the impact that limited access to information has on societies. Two years later, I can still say this has been one of the most exciting teaching experiences I have had as an instructional librarian. It is important to point out that this experience occurred in a residence hall and not a traditional classroom. This workshop and other residential outreach experiences I have designed are as a result of the educational mission of Residence Life and Housing on the SUNY Oswego campus. Like Oswego, an educational focus is a key element of residential life missions on other campuses. As such, there is exciting potential for wide-ranging instructional outreach opportunities for librarians in campus residential settings.

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