University Goes Back to Basics to Reach Minority Students

By Norlin, Elaina | American Libraries, August 2001 | Go to article overview

University Goes Back to Basics to Reach Minority Students


Norlin, Elaina, American Libraries


THE SECRET IS TO START BY UNDERSTANDING A GIVEN GROUP'S NEEDS AND INTERESTS

A University of Arizona freshman from Korea said it all during a library-sponsored focus-group session: "I normally do not come into the library." Few of his friends did, either, he said.

After the UA Library conducted the focus groups of incoming students for three semesters, it emerged that many minority and international students found the library overwhelming and usually went, instead, to one of four student cultural centers on campus or the very crowded Global Student Center, which provides places for socializing and sometimes a small computer lab where they can write their papers or do research on the Internet. The trend was a major concern for the UA Library, whose mission includes being an inclusive place, especially for diverse populations. After several semesters of inviting minority and international students to a basic bibliographic instruction session and encouraging them-unsuccessfully--to return to the library soon, the library switched from passive to active mode by carrying its information-literacy message and technology expertise to the centers.

Program moves in new directions

To accomplish this, the library decided to broaden and improve its Peer Information Counseling (PIC) program.

Traditionally, the program coordinator recruited undergraduate minority and international students and provided them with training in information literacy and basic library research skills; the PIC students then worked evenings and weekends on the reference desk. The PIC program had been in place since 1993 but had become stagnant, with a high turnover rate both among PIC coordinators and among the student workers, who did not feel a sense of community at the library or of purpose for their work. Among other shortcomings, working on the reference desk did not provide a complete picture of what today's academic library professionals do, which usually includes bibliographic instruction, integrating technology to produce new Web products and services, and outreach to faculty and other campus constituencies.

In 1998, the library's Undergraduate Services Team expanded on the PIC program by developing partnerships with campus cultural centers and student service organizations. The team received more money so it could recruit more students, offer them more hours of service, and provide them with technology training. The training includes workshops in PowerPoint, HTML coding, Dreamweaver and Adobe PhotoShop; most of these classes are available free at the library, which also has an Information Commons that allows students, staff, and faculty to use multimedia software programs and integrate them into their work or class assignments. The PIC students also work as assistants in some of the workshop classes to gain experience in instruction and in working one on one with a variety of technology users.

Finally, the students are also trained in marketing and presentation as a way to get them working as a team, developing products and marketing their services to the cultural centers on campus.

From indifference to acceptance

With the new technology training in place for the PIC students, I as the new PIC program coordinator began working with the four campus cultural and international centers, which target African Americans, Native Americans, Chicanos-Latinos, and Asians-Pacific Islanders. Being new to the university and the library, I assumed that these organizations would be thrilled to see their students receive free library assistance with research- and technology-related problems, but my initial attempts were often met with indifference or even hostility. The PIC students during this time made several presentations at the cultural centers, but we quickly realized that we needed to backtrack and try a new approach. In the meantime, the PIC students concentrated on creating Web pages that dealt with grants, employment opportunities, study abroad, financial aid, and graduate studies for minority and international students. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

University Goes Back to Basics to Reach Minority Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.