On Wednesday, August 21, 2013, we welcomed more than 150 students for library orientations. Between the Honors Summit and the International Student orientation, librarians conducted five sessions during the middle of the day that brought two of LMU’s most diverse groups into the library for interactive and explorative activities.
International students fly their colors on Lawton Plaza outside the William H. Hannon Library
The Honors Summit, a day-long special event for all Honors Program students, wanted a library component to prepare students for a unique exercise in the field: “Downtown Los Angeles As Text.” The library orientation also provided an opportunity for these students to see and engage with a wide range of artifacts on display in
the Department of Archives & Special Collections. The number of students was so large that it had to be divided into two groups. While one group visited Special Collections, the other half of the students met in one of the library’s electronic classrooms for exercises on the online use of digital collections, conducted by librarians Rachel Wen-Paloutzian and Alexander Justice.
The Honors Summit theme of “Downtown Los Angeles As Text” dovetails nicely with the Department of Archives & Special Collections commitment to make available in digital format the wealth of material it holds on Los Angeles history. The Changing Face of Southern California, for example, is composed of several hundred digitized postcards, many of which depict buildings and other sites that have long since been erased
from the cityscape. In the Special Collections exhibit, honors students viewed actual postcards from the collections, while in the classroom they saw how the postcards were curated online. One specific postcard provided the basis for an attentiveness exercise. Students then viewed a finding aid to see how libraries provide information about collections that are not yet online. In addition, they learned how to use the digitized Los Angeles Sentinel and Los Angeles Times to find contemporary background information on the feature shown in their postcard attentiveness exercise.
Special Collections Librarian Rachel Wen-Paloutzian conducts the Honors Program students in an attentiveness exercise.
Next, we had a full house with the incoming International Students, who filled up three classrooms! Students all were given questions from the library FAQ, which were asked and answered with a lively exchange called the Cephalonian Method.
New students don’t always know what to ask – these prompts help make sure everyone learns what they need to know.
The students were then turned loose in the library for a self-guided tour and encouraged to visit a few of the library’s most popular locations: a group study room, the Information Desk, Archives and Special Collections, and of course, the four laser printers named Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo.
Students from, ah, “Straya” learn about the whiteboard walls in a group study room. We thought it was called Oz!