HPU Libraries Utilize Social Media And Late Night Hours To Help Students Stay In Touch

HIGH POINT, N.C., March 15, 2010 – In the old days, a card catalog and a microfilm reader were considered high-tech in terms of tools in the library, but students today need much, much more ? and thanks to ever-growing services in the High Point University libraries, students have everything they need and more.

Case in point? The library is on Facebook, and students can literally be in touch with the library all day, every day ? a feature that?s new this semester.

“Many libraries have positioned themselves in the social networking world ? called Web 2.0,” says David Bryden, director of Library Services at HPU. “The library’s Facebook page has grown to be quite popular and is administered by the lead librarian at the University Center library, Amy Pace. Using Facebook allows the library to highlight new resources and allows us to send messages and invites to students that have ‘friended’ the library.”

Bryden adds that students the library is friends with on Facebook end up being a library MVP ? and those on the popular social networking tool also have the option to chat and ask questions via the Facebook portal.

Another particularly helpful feature is the fact that the Smith Library and the University Center Library are both open 24/7. Students not only can use these locations for those all-night-long study sessions, but help is always on-hand; the library is staffed with librarians or graduate library school students during late night hours.

“While students are encouraged to use the two facilities whenever they want, we have found that the evening and late night hours are some of the most popular,” says David Bryden, director of Library Services at HPU. “At Smith, we will see as many as 250 students using the library during these late night hours.”

Via Facebook and also via a service called “chat” students can talk with a librarian anytime they have a question. “Our Librarians are there to help students 24/7 so we thought that it would be a great service to let them chat online with a librarian and ask questions.” Anytime day or night a student can type in a questions and have it answered by one of the library staff members.  Couple this with in-person, email or telephone access to a librarian and you end up with a student body that is very well connected to the information resources and help that they need to be successful.

Yet another helpful tool in the libraries is the reference resource cards, which serves as a great way for the library to make sure students truly are getting what they need.

“We help, quite literally, hundreds of students a month,” Bryden says. “For most libraries, this has always been a very passive event. The student was helped and then we hope for the best. Now, we get in touch with the student after the research session.”

Bryden explains that as the library staff helps a student, they jot down helpful resources or key terms on a two-part research form. Once research is completed, the staff gives the student the filled out form and then keeps a copy.

“We then e-mail the student a day or so later to see if what we did and the research materials they received were helpful,” Bryden says.

While students may take most notice of the Facebook addition, other services offered by the libraries continue to be well-utilized, including the “Books on Demand” program, which literally gives students access to any book they might need.

“If we deem that the resource is one that would provide a benefit to library, we purchase a copy,” Bryden says, adding he estimates the BOD program purchase around 300 new titles a year.

In addition, the libraries offer an advanced catalog search, where students can search for research by type, such as e-Books, e-Video and more. Also, the libraries are in the process of digitizing old films from the past, including an oral history of HPU from the late Dr. Roy Epperson. The libraries just finished digitizing all of the college yearbooks 1927 to 2008 and are available for viewing from the library Web site at http://library.highpoint.edu.

“People love looking at those types of materials,” Bryden says. “It’s a huge advantage for the school.”

At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 44 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” HPU was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” 2009 listings. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at http://www.highpoint.edu/ or on Twitter at @HighPointU.

Chris Dudley

Vice President for Administration

336-841-4530 cdudley@highpoint.edu

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