Making Space, Engaging Students
How One Department Built Outreach into Our Community of Practice
Keywords:outreach, reference, zines, user experience, book club, engagement, programming
Reed College is a small liberal arts college located in Portland, Oregon. Students work and study on a mostly residential campus and the library has historically been the heart of academic and campus life. This relationship was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic as Reed shifted to online learning and library staff worked remotely. After more than a year, students and library staff returned to campus but other disruptions impacted student use of services and physical library space. A major seismic renovation closed a large section of the library. During this 18-month renovation, almost 40 percent of library seating and assigned desks were unavailable for student use. These major disruptions meant that both incoming and some upper-level students had no established relationship to the library beyond virtual interactions. It became evident there was a need to re-engage and re-energize students’ relationship with all aspects of library spaces and services.