Faculty and staff from University Libraries headed to the Triangle in 2018 for the Librarians’ Association at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (LAUNC-CH) conference to present “Transforming Partnerships: Supporting the Gate City Through Campus and Community Outreach.”
This annual conference provides professional growth and development opportunities for librarians, promotes effective library services within academic communities and fosters a spirit of cooperation among members of the library profession.
Many of the workshops presented throughout the academic year have close ties to Greensboro and Guilford County. Real News Real Talk, UNCG CHANCE, Tech Savvy and Health Literacy workshops were each showcased at the LAUNC-CH conference to coincide with University Libraries’ strategic goals—community involvement, information literacy and health literacy.
UNCG CHANCE is a seven-day summer program for Latinx rising high school juniors and seniors. Participants engage with university professors, students and staff to develop a peer/professional network forging positive, healthy mentorship connections focused on academic success and personal growth. (Source: UNCG CHANCE).
While information literacy is a key piece of each program, Real News Real Talk and the Health Literacy workshops address community concerns about “fake news” and the value of locating reliable information on the internet.
Participants in the Real News Real Talk workshops were middle-school students from Guilford County Schools; however, attendees of the Health Literacy workshops were adults.
Kathryn Crowe, associate dean for public services and associate professor, values information literacy and understands its integral to her role as a librarian and administrator at UNCG. “That is our profession,” said Crowe. “Helping people learn how to find good information, not just any information.”
While each workshop described here is community-focused, UNCG CHANCE addresses a specific target demographic—Latinx junior and senior high school students from across North Carolina. The program serves as a college preparation course that gives students insight into not only academics but also civic organizations, cultural experiences, and sports activities.
Tech Savvy, a community outreach program for the parents of middle-school girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics) careers and academic fields, coordinates its efforts with a local community organization—The American Association of University Women (AAUW).
The AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. The Greensboro branch provides engagement opportunities for students and organizations, while fostering an inclusive community atmosphere.
According to Jenny Dale, information literacy coordinator and associate professor, University Libraries wants to be part of the Greater Greensboro community and not separate.
“Our outreach involving many different groups—Latinx high schoolers, parents of middle schoolers, adults and middle school students—has certainly achieved that,” remarked Dale. “Partnerships with other community organizations, such as Cone Health, have only furthered the libraries’ goals and scope.
Tech Savvy is gearing up for a new session with middle school girls, UNCG CHANCE has doubled its attendance and a second Real News Real Talk session is planned again in 2019, along with many more Health Literacy workshops in the Greater Greensboro area.
The LAUNC-CH conference presentation was a success, showcasing the many different types of programs University Libraries offers, as well as the different audiences it serves. Not only did the presenters receive great feedback from attendees, but they were happy to share the great outreach programs they have been hard at work assembling and presenting.
“Being a part of LAUNC-CH and talking about our work there reminds people that we’re doing interesting and dynamic things here at UNC Greensboro,” commented Maggie Murphy, first-year instruction/humanities librarian and assistant professor. “There’s no doubt that this growth will continue for years to come.”
Written by Jules Miller