SPEC Kit 317: Special Collections Engagement  ·  61
Russell Library survey asked respondents to explain how they learned about our events and when they liked to attend
such events. This influenced our approach to marketing and scheduling of events.
Success in generating interest among visitors have lead to increased number of events and focus on outreach through
The “collections roundtable” aimed at quality of engagement as a value over the size of the audience.
The success of events involving Special Collections materials and staff has lead to its becoming the primary focus of
Library development efforts.
Timing of events determined by the target audience (earlier for students/faculty and later for community.)
To identify specific campus groups and encourage their participation.
We are working on marketing and advertising our open houses in different ways to attract more visitors.
We have changed the starting time of our events to a time more convenient to students and faculty.
We have good attendance at our events and extremely positive feedback. I am not sure that we have changed
anything we have done but it has encouraged us to do more events and to always have multiple partners (academic
departments, student organizations, and other cultural institutions within our community).
With the White Gloves event, feedback has led to an adjustment of the schedule for more time for discussion and
perhaps the development of a led discussion.
19. Additional comments about events that are intended to engage faculty, students, and other
scholars/researchers affiliated with your institution in the use of collections. N=12
A major change in the culture of the library took place several years ago. This resulted in opening up our space to food &
drink, more “social” events, etc. We are continuing this effort!
Brown alumni working as K–12 teachers locally bring their students into the John Hay Library. This has run the gamut
from 2nd graders (a reading circle for Black History month) to High School honors classes in chemistry and history.
Content based teaching, using examples from the collections, is a good way of attracting interest in the library; we are
planning to offer a series of workshops on the use and importance of primary resources, targeted to undergraduates.
I think it is as important to engage the interest of the regular public and colleagues in order to heighten the profile of the
archives in general as to specifically target students, faculty, and other scholars. People need to hear about the archives
in every sphere of their life. This contact reinforces their awareness.
Other events have included gallery tours for classes and community groups, and private receptions and dinners
for donors after exhibit openings. Our events have to compete with many others on campus and in the New York
metropolitan area. Event planning is extremely time-consuming and costly. The Exhibitions Coordinator has additional
responsibilities as a curator, reference librarian, and faculty member, but events and exhibits claim the greatest part of
her time because of lack of support and cooperation.
Our main focus to engage students and faculty is to develop instructional sessions that have an assignment bringing
students back to use the collections.
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