Three Projects to Motivate Reading: The Experience of the University Library of Ukraine

By Olena Skachenko (skachenko.nana@gmail.com)
Scientific Library, Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts, Kyiv, Ukraine
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3827-5985

The article considers the experience of the University Library of Ukraine to motivate reading in college students. The author describes three library created events that encouraged students to visit the library, to read, and communicate with others in the library space. The first two events, Library Motivators and Literary Valentines, were implemented online. Information was posted on the library website and on different social networks. The third event, Book and Library Predictions was a way for students to communicate in the library space. Events like these could be implemented in other libraries using various online services and social networks.

Introduction

The library as a socio-cultural institution in all periods of history has performed the functions of collecting and storing knowledge and providing access to its information sources. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit higher education worldwide. Universities, colleges, as well as museums, cinemas, and exhibition halls have transitioned to work on the Internet, or they have been forced to stop working. The transformations that took place in the information environment changed the formats of production, distribution, and use of information. This increased the need for libraries to expand their remote library services.

The Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts is a leading institution of higher education in Ukraine in the field of culture and arts. The Scientific Library is an important information, educational, and cultural center of the university which provides quality information services. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the library operated remotely for about 6 months, serving only academic scholars. To communicate with users, the library used the online service “Virtual Help”, Zoom, and the library Facebook account.

It has become common and necessary for college-aged students to obtain information anywhere 24/7. Those students often receive information through gadgets, and through communication on social networks. Given today’s trends, Ukrainian libraries are looking to implement new methods of interaction with readers by diversifying their services. Libraries are also trying to create conditions for students where they are comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.

The purpose of the article is to explain how the library of the Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts increased interaction and motivated readers with new outreach events. The library also helped students get acquainted with new books through these events.

Event 1. Library Motivators

Every year on September 30, Ukraine celebrates the All-Ukrainian Library Day. On the occasion of this holiday in 2018, the library Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts developed 10 motivational postcards for readers which were presented on the library website.

The Motivator (motivational poster) combines images and text that stimulates change, motivates students to action, and it may change people’s views of a subject. The first line of the motivator is a well-known saying about libraries, books, or reading. The second line is a motivational appeal for them to visit the library, ask librarians questions, and to feel part of a group in a team of like-minded people.

Examples: 

"Alit lectio ingenium. Acquire knowledge with us!"

"The university grows around the library. Empower your potential with us!""You will not be alone in the library. The library is your friend."

Motivators with such appeals can be seen in this presentation at https://view.genial.ly/5f6cab4df902780d10c9f5f7/presentation-library-knuca-library-motivators-2018-2020.

Some other example are:

The library is a world of knowledge.
Explore the world with us.

Books are ships of thought that travel through time.
Travel with us.

I’m not me without books.
Keep it real!

A book is a mirror.
Find yours with us!

Books… there is a running stream of the healing water.
Heal your soul with us!

As mentioned above, due to COVID-19, the library did not provide in-person services for about six months. All service was conducted remotely. The library staff decided to repeat the idea with motivators to restore lost connections and to establish new modes of communication. The text of Motivators-2020 were written to inspire our students to work on themselves, to think positively, and to look at familiar things from an unusual perspective.

Examples:

All men by nature desire knowledge (Aristotle).
The library is a space that allows you to learn.

A good book makes you wiser, a bad one robs you. 
Our books lead to your Victories!

Don’t look for treasures far away…
Find them in the library!

Those who want to go high design stepping stones.
Books, information, knowledge are your stepping stones to success.

Books exist to be used.
There are 300,000 books in the library collection. 
Come and borrow it. They are all for you.

See your friends more often, reread good books.
A library is a meeting place of friends and books.

By offering short blurbs of motivational text with our users, we wanted to encourage our students to visit the library and to read more of the books that we provide.

Event 2. Literary Valentines

Literary Valentines are electronic images published as postcards on the social network Facebook on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. The postcards promoted books and motivated our students to read them. Each postcard contained a quote on the theme of love from the works of modern Ukrainian writers, such as: Lina Kostenko, Darya Korniy, Tala Vladmyrova, Luko Dashvar, and Andriy Zelinsky. We invited students to read Darya Korniy and Tala Vladmyrova’s book “Wings of Cloud Color.” The quote that motivates reading reads: “Eternity begins with love, and everything begins with it…”. Another statement from the book is “He who has love in his heart is never unhappy.”

The main components of the card included the title of the book, the names of the authors, a quote from the book, and the logo of the library to identify the institution that provides access to the book.

Event 3. Book and Library Predictions

Book and Library Predictions is an annual event where the library asks students to guess about what might happen in the future. This event has a three-year history, and it is popular with library visitors. 

This is a glass bowl with scrolls of notes.

Two students pick out scrolls to read.

The Prediction asks library users for a statement–a reflection about life, rest, travel, study, friends, victories, meetings, new acquaintances, and more. Patron statements were written on separate scrolls of paper. Library staff then look for quotes on the above topics in books, interviews with contemporary Ukrainian writers and poets, and lyrics by local singers to respond to the statement. 

Examples:

  • The thing that scares you the most should be done first (Robin Sharma)
  • Never regret anything: sometimes it happens that trouble directs you in the other direction, and dreams do not come true – for the better
  • Success is very close
  • Dreams have no days off
  • Think with your head, but decide with your heart
  • Only conscious knowledge bears fruit
  • Happiness is not the goal of life, but a means

In another example, the author received the following prediction. This is a line from the song of the modern Ukrainian rock band SKAY: “Time of good, Time to open the world, Time to give Love.”

Someone look at student created notes positioned on a glass door.

Conclusions

The library of the Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts (Ukraine) is transforming its mission and role in society, and is looking for new ways to interact with readers. The library is focusing on the realities of the present and future in which electronic communication is increasingly displacing the usage of print books in our collection. To popularize the library space among students, the university library developed and successfully implemented several events to help motivate more students to read. Three projects, Library Motivators, Literary Valentines, and Book Predictions became popular among library readers. We hope that events similar to these could be implemented in other libraries using online services and social networks.

References

Scientific Library (2018, October 05). Motivators of success from the library. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from http://lib.knukim.edu.ua/motivatori-uspikhu-vid-biblioteki/

Skachenko, H. (2018, February 16). Hype in the library, or Valentine’s Day, books, and predictions. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://medium.com/%40helenskachenko/%D1%87%D0%B0%D1%81%D0%B1%D1%96%D0%B1%D0%BB%D1%96%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BA-1-ff94e95fa3c1

Skachenko, O. (2020, September 28). Library KNUCA. Library motivators. 2018-2020 by Helena on Genially. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from https://view.genial.ly/5f6cab4df902780d10c9f5f7/presentation-library-knuca-library-motivators-2018-2020

Recommended Reading

Dewan, P. (2013). Reading matters in the academic library: Taking the lead from public librarians. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 52(4), 309-319.

Elliott, J. (2007). Academic libraries and extracurricular reading promotion. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 46(3), 34-43.

Elliott, J. (2009). Barriers to extracurricular reading promotion in academic libraries. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 48(4), 340-346.

Gilbert, J., & Fister, B. (2011). Reading, risk, and reality: College students and reading for pleasure. College & research libraries, 72(5), 474-495.

Joo, S., Choi, N., & Baek, T. H. (2018). Library marketing via social media: The relationships between Facebook content and user engagement in public libraries. Online Information Review, 42(6), 940-955.

Lacy, M. (Ed.). (2014). The Slow Book Revolution: Creating a New Culture of Reading on College Campuses and Beyond. ABC-CLIO.

Madge, O. L. (2017). Reaching out to users: Romanian academic libraries on Facebook. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 4(4), 855-859.

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