Panel: Demonstrating Library Value through Outreach and Engagement

Location: Santa Ana (first floor).

“Engaging our communities can be the defining aspect of what a library is to any given community” Emily Ford, Portland State University

The nature and value of academic libraries have changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Our one-time preoccupation with building up physical collections, understandable in an age of information scarcity, has given way to a thoughtful reconsideration of the purpose and value of libraries. In an age of ubiquitous information and global connectivity, the value of campus libraries is no longer a given. In today’s digital world, academic librarians often struggle to find ways to demonstrate the value of libraries beyond holdings, subscriptions and gate counts. While tenacious and energetic problem-solvers, librarians have been a little slow to recognize the critical importance of engagement as a way of communicating and demonstrating library value. It is our contention that librarians can most successfully communicate the value of the library by focusing on people, on building relationships, listening more, talking less, and looking for ways to create engagement.

The panel will explore ways in which to build an engaged and engaging library. Each panelist will discuss a different dimension of this effort. Panelists will discuss the value of partnerships, networking, outreach and engagement strategies and programs (such as campus-community partnerships) as well as social media, in reaching out to (and engaging with) primary decision makers on and off campus, and of using virtual tools, including social media, to communicate value to campus and community users and share methods of communicating value within the context of campus culture, strategic priorities, and shared values. The panelists will address opportunities and challenges; and will prompt audience participation in identifying ways in which academic librarians are starting to integrate outreach and engagement activities into their primary roles (e.g. liaison models, engaged activism, volunteer work).


Theresa Byrd, Dean, University Library, University of San Diego

Amy Kautzman, Dean and Director, California State University, Sacramento

Pat Kreitz, Dean of Library and Academic Resources, St. Mary’s College of California

Kathlin Ray, Dean of Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno