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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Summer 2007

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[Board accepted]

Follow the Silk Road to Orientation Success: Promoting Miami University's Brill Science Library

Eric Resnis
Engineering Librarian
Miami University
Oxford OH

Betsy Butler
Special Collections Librarian
Miami University
Oxford OH

Jennifer Barth
Young Adult Librarian
Irondequoit Public Library
Rochester NY
formerly Instructional Materials Librarian at Miami University, Oxford OH

Copyright 2007, Eric Resnis, Betsy Butler, and Jennifer Barth. Used with permission.


This paper describes "Follow the Silk the Science Library," a successful orientation event held at Brill Science Library, Miami University, Oxford Ohio. The program combined many important ingredients, including information literacy, outreach, collaboration, and university-wide involvement, all in a non-threatening and fun atmosphere. Included here are details of the concept, requirements to make the event possible, and follow-up plans.


While traditional library orientation staples such as tours and introductory bibliographic instruction sessions are effective in their own right, they still have several shortcomings. Usually these sessions are short, with librarians covering too many topics in too short of a time. Furthermore, most of this information gets lost in the onslaught of orientations that students face at the beginning of the academic year. Branch libraries can also suffer as most orientation sessions are offered exclusively at the main library branch.

New methods of dealing with the aforementioned shortcomings have been devised in previous years. While the general purpose of the orientation (to provide a welcoming and positive first experience in the library) is the same, these new methods integrate concepts which are not usually attributed to the library, such as games and other light-hearted activities. Furthermore, these orientation sessions are usually scheduled several weeks into classes so that it is not necessary to compete with other orientation sessions on campus.

For instance, Penn State University produces an elaborate library orientation session each semester based upon themes such as a luau, the 1950s era and Mardi Gras (Cahoy & Bichel 2004). Others have introduced elements of mystery and games into the orientation. For instance, Cedarville University uses the game Clue as a premise for orienting students to library services (Fawcett & Funtik 2004). Treasure hunt aspects can be found in orientation sessions at Penn State and at Queensborough Community College (City University of New York) (Cahoy & Bichel 2004; Marcus & Beck 2003). The hunts usually involve food and prizes for those who successfully complete the tasks.

These creative methods have resulted in library orientations that inform the campus community about the realm of library services in a way that is relaxing, non-threatening, and fun (Cahoy & Bichel 2004). Attendees leave the session with prizes and full stomachs, but more importantly with a better awareness of the library and its role in their academic lives.

Incorporating ideas from the events listed previously, Miami University's Brill Science Library created an orientation session that was unique to the 18,000-student university located in southwestern Ohio. The Science Library supports eleven science departments at all degree levels, and it is one of Miami's three branch libraries on the Oxford campus. During this period, Brill Science Library was also the temporary home to the library's Instructional Materials Center (IMC).

Since most orientation sessions are based at Miami's main library, the Science Library and IMC have never had orientation sessions of their own. While tours of the Science Library are offered at the end of some of these orientation sessions, the tours are sparsely attended. While bibliographic instructions sessions provide an opportunity for librarians to introduce the Science Library, staff decided that a more interactive, engaging orientation was necessary that would showcase the library and its resources. The event would occur in September, at the end of the fourth week of classes after other campus orientation sessions were long completed.

Before any planning for the event began, we created goals that would help tremendously when planning and implementing the event. These included:


Planning for such a large-scale event took a considerable amount of time and required contributions from many individuals. Work began nearly ten months before the event. Starting early allowed the committee time to refine and sculpt the orientation idea into something that would support the library's mission and would appeal to all involved. Furthermore, we knew that this type of orientation would require a considerable amount of money (compared to other outreach events), and that there was no money in the budget for the event. Searching, applying, and waiting for decisions on external funding could also take much time as well. A very positive aspect of the grant process was that it helped us to decide a firm timeline for how event planning would proceed.

While many grants were considered, we ultimately applied for a grant from the University's Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet studies. The center was beginning a two-year slate of programs on the ancient trading routes of the Silk Road. This grant was especially exciting because it would not only provide the primary funding for the event, but it would allow the Science Library to become a part of a University-wide initiative.

Happily for us, our grant was funded by the Havighurst Center. At that point, planning began in earnest. The group designing the event also grew to six members. The diverse group not only included staff from Brill Science Library and the Instructional Materials Center, but also interested staff from other libraries at Miami, including the Outreach Librarian. The group generally met weekly to discuss progress on initiatives and to plan future directions. These meetings became more frequent as the event approached.

The first challenge that the group dealt with was how to effectively integrate the Silk Road theme into a library orientation. After much discussion, we decided to transform the library to resemble a route along the Silk Road, the historical trade route that once linked Asia and Europe. Three of the library's four levels would be dedicated to the event; the top floor would be untouched to allow a place for those not participating in the event to study and research.

The first goal of the event was to complete a planning document by the end of May. While we were aware that details would certainly be fluid after May, we wanted to have a good schematic of the event that was acceptable to all involved and that would achieve what it planned. It was also during this time that we began to arrange for student attendance and foster partnerships, both of which are discussed more below.

Late summer was spent confirming details for the event: speakers and volunteers were contacted and confirmed; vendors were contacted for gifts and other promotional items; decorations, food, and prizes were finalized and purchased.


The Silk Road Orientation would not have been successful without the many partnerships that were forged during the planning and implementation of the event. These partnerships not only helped to keep our budget low; they also brought attention to many university institutions.

The project began with the partnership between us and our funder, the Havighurst Center. While the Libraries and the Havighurst Center work together on a normal basis, these projects usually involve King Library, where Russian materials are housed. This partnership had positive consequences for both the Science Library and the Havighurst Center. Havighurst chose our orientation to be the kickoff event for Silk Road events in Fall 2005. This not only gave more "meaning" to the event outside the library; it also greatly helped us in advertising to members of the campus community. This event gave considerable publicity to the Silk Road initiative in general. Many who attended the event were not aware that such events were occurring on campus before our event. Furthermore, many indicated that they would attend other Silk Road events in the future as a result of attending our orientation.

Another important partnership included the departments that the Science Library and IMC serve. While fostering relationships with faculty is an important part of our job, we knew that we needed a strong impetus for students to attend the event. While prizes and food would attract some people, we knew that extra credit or required attendance would be important as well. The Engineering Librarian, who had been working with engineering/computer science faculty for months on methods to infuse information literacy into the introductory engineering curriculum, was able to secure required attendance for nearly 250 engineering and computer science first-year students. Required attendance for teacher education students also provided another 100 students. In addition, extra credit was offered by faculty teaching 12 other classes. While most of these classes were in the science and education disciplines, an anthropology professor also offered extra credit to students who attended the Silk Road Orientation.

Other campus partnerships helped the library secure additional content for the Silk Road event. For instance, the university geology museum shared gemstones to be displayed at the gemstones station. With assistance from a faculty presenter, the Miami University Art Museum displayed some Silk Road artifacts during the event. Additionally, the university's greenhouse provided numerous plants for the "reference oasis" station that featured reference services. This was an excellent way to bring attention to university institutions that are not readily known to first-year students, and helped to keep the decoration and display budget low.

A final partnership which deemed to be quite valuable was with vendors. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), The Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), mapping company ESRI, and Thomson Scientific were especially helpful in providing handouts and some additional prizes for the event. OhioLINK and the Havighurst Center also provided giveaway items.


Once the event was scheduled, the committee began brainstorming ideas to market it to Miami faculty and students. In planning, the committee decided to stress three aspects of the orientation that were likely to draw in students. These included prizes, free food, and extra credit. The committee also decided that all marketing materials would be branded with the Silk Road orientation logo designed by the library's Outreach Office, and the Miami University Libraries logo.

The purpose of the Silk Road event was to introduce the library and its services to undergraduate students. A major initiative of the marketing plan included outreach to faculty in the related science and education programs. Science librarians and the IMC librarian contacted faculty teaching introductory-level courses in both programs. Faculty were encouraged to provide extra credit to students who attended the event. Several faculty went beyond extra credit and required attendance for all students in their classes. This was the most important aspect of the marketing plan. We now had a guaranteed audience of approximately 250 undergraduate students.

Recognizing the importance of free food to the college student, the committee decided early on that the orientation would need to include a food station. This station was featured prominently in all marketing materials. As an added incentive, the committee built a raffle into the day's event. Every student who visited five of the 10 stations was entered to win. Prizes included tickets to campus events, t-shirts, water bottles and pens. The committee realized the library would need a grand prize worthy of student attention. Two iPods were purchased and displayed prominently in the library several days before the event.

To get the word out, the library created several marketing tools. Thirty days before the event, a Silk Road countdown poster was displayed in the Science Library entrance. This poster highlighted major marketing points. As each day passed, the countdown was changed to reflect the upcoming event. The countdown poster sparked patron curiosity; circulation staff noted receiving questions about the countdown and the Silk Road.

The second marketing tool was a Silk Road blog. Using the Google-owned tool, Blogger, the Engineering Librarian created a blog to update students and faculty about the upcoming events. The blog provided a vehicle to announce speakers, highlight prizes, describe food to be served, and reminded students to check in with their professors about extra credit opportunities. The blog included a stat counter so the staff could keep track of the number of visitors. Nearly 250 people visited the blog in the weeks preceding the event, with 60 visitors on the day before the event. The blog supplemented other web-based advertising on the main library web site and subject specialist librarian web sites.

The committee also created a small flyer to place at public service points throughout the Science Library. In addition, students and staff working at circulation points were encouraged to place a flyer in each patron's materials. The committee also asked other university libraries to provide flyers to their patrons. The library web site and the electronic bulletin board located in the main library's lobby highlighted the event. The committee submitted information on online campus and community events calendars, prepared a press release for student and faculty newspapers published on campus, and sent an announcement to WMUB, an NPR affiliate housed on Miami's campus. Additionally, the Havighurst Center also provided publicity through its own announcements, publications, and press releases. On the day of the event, a large tent was erected early in the morning to garner interest from those visiting the library in the morning.


The natural traffic patterns of the area were transformed into the actual Silk Road route. While silk or fabric had been considered as a way to denote the route, camel's feet (brown paper sprayed with textured paint) were just as effective and did not cause such a high safety concern. Eleven stations or outposts were spread throughout the lower three levels of the library. Each station contained at least one or two personnel who talked about the station and its significance to the library and/or the Silk Road. Each station had a script that gave an overview of the station and what to highlight for a one- to two-minute talk (an example script is in Appendix A). Depending on his/her familiarity with the topic, each person could then elaborate on the script.

A passport was the key document for the event, and it served a multitude of purposes (see Appendix B for example). For the library, it was an easy way to track attendance. For the attendees, it was a way to register for grand prizes and earn extra credit with one document. The inside of the passport contained descriptions of the stations and a place for a stamp once the station had been visited. Ten stations were included on the passport (the opening tent was not included since everyone automatically visited it upon entering). To be eligible for prizes, the attendee had to visit five of the ten stations and complete the assessment. Once this was accomplished, attendees proceeded to the "customs station" at the exit to the library. Customs station workers checked and verified passports, gave attendance certificates, and ensured that students filled out the back of the passport to be entered in a drawing for approximately 40 prizes, ranging from two iPod grand prizes to gift certificates to local merchants and various items from vendors.

Many stations also contained informational posters about the library service or Silk Road subject featured (an example of a poster is included in Appendix D). The following paragraphs describe the eleven stations, including the learning objectives for each.

Station 1: Welcome Station

A portable tent, in the tradition of a yurt, was positioned outside the main entrance to Brill Library. Student employee "ambassadors" welcomed attendees and handed them introductory information about the libraries such as the current year's "Guide to the Libraries." The tent also featured several posters that introduced visitors to the libraries, the Silk Road initiative and the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post Soviet Studies. At the welcome station, attendees were handed a passport that contained a listing of all the Silk Road stations. The welcome station also served as the last stop on the Silk Road orientation route. Here, students traded their passports for an extra credit certificate. The passport, with the student's contact information, was used to register the student eligible for grand prizes.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Discovered the location of Brill and other campus libraries.
  • Became familiar with the Silk Road Initiative and the Havighurst Center.

Station 2: Instructional Materials Center (IMC)

The IMC station resembled a market/bazaar, a stop familiar to travelers of the Silk Road. Using Silk Road themes, the bazaar highlighted materials available in the IMC. This included DVD and VHS items about Silk Road regions, children's literature emphasizing multicultural and religious themes, teacher materials focusing on Silk Road curriculum, non-book materials for use in K-12 settings, and the Children's Literature Comprehensive Database, a new library acquisition of interest to preservice students and faculty. Two of the bazaar stations featured hands-on activities for visitors. Hands-on experiences, including writing in calligraphy, were offered at some of the tables.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Learned about various aspects of Silk Road cultures.
  • Became familiar with the variety of formats available in the IMC.
  • Understood IMC policies.

Station 3: Map Room

The map room displayed maps of Silk Road countries and maps purchased to support the Silk Road initiative. Other maps were mounted outside the map room and throughout the library. The station was also an excellent opportunity to mention ArcGIS software and our expanding electronic topographical map collection.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Located the map room and 2nd floor topographic maps.
  • Discovered the electronic mapping resources owned by the libraries.
  • Learned about map policies and procedures.

Station 4: Circulation Desk

The circulation desk is where attendees learned about many library services, including circulation policies, renewal, study room and laptop checkout, instruction room, reserves and e-reserves. Interlibrary loan, OhioLINK, intercampus lending, SWORD (our regional cooperative book depository) and student employment were also described here. The desk was divided into four separate areas, each focusing on two or three aspects of circulation.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Knew how to view their personal record, renew materials, locate reserve materials.
  • Became familiar with the services the Libraries can provide for them.
  • Understood the Libraries' circulation policies.

Station 5: Innovations

This station included inventions of the Silk Road era changes that occurred since that time. Innovations that were featured included paper, mathematics, communication, and transportation. Additionally, a "library through the ages" display included display items such as card catalog cards and microcard machines.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Learned more about inventions of the Silk Road period.
  • Became acquainted with the evolution of the library.

Station 6: Silk

This station featured silk in all of its varied forms. A poster highlighted the many products made with silk, such as balloons, clothing, and thread. Additionally, a Chinese wedding dress and several other examples of silk clothing were on display. Handouts and a video from the library's collection presented information about how silk is made.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Learned about silkworms, silk and silk production.
  • Discovered the role of silk in Asian culture.

Station 7: Reference Oasis

Attendees could rest and relax in the area behind the reference desk. The oasis theme for this station emphasized the relief a librarian can provide during the research process. Attendees sat in reading room chairs, sampled teas of the Silk Road countries, and learned about what services are available at the reference desk. Demonstrations of the library's web site and Refworks were also available at this station.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Determined the location of the reference desk.
  • Were introduced to subject specialist liaisons.
  • Learned about reference desk hours.
  • Became familiar with the library's homepage and the Research by Subject function.

Station 8: Gemstones

This station highlighted gemstones and minerals, such as jade and lapis lazuli, that were commonly traded along the Silk Road. A display case featured a variety of stones provided by Miami's Geology Museum and several other geology faculty. Additionally, a display containing other Silk Road artifacts was created in conjunction with Miami's Art Museum.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Viewed examples of gemstones and minerals and other artifacts that were traded along the Silk Road.
  • Learned about the role of gemstones during this era.

Station 9: Viewing Room

In the science library's instruction room, attendees could listen to presentations and view a Silk Road documentary DVD production. The Dean of Libraries and the Director of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies welcomed Silk Road attendees. Faculty from the Geography and Geology departments gave lectures on Silk Road tourism and Silk Road gemstones.

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Knew the location of the instruction room and its use policies.
  • Learned more about the Silk Road through presentations and media.

Station 10: Food and Drink

Free food is an important draw to these events, and we did not disappoint in this regard. We served food on the third floor (which contains monographs and study space) instead of the other floors because we did not want to send mixed signals to students regarding food consumption in the library. Food and drink are prohibited at the computer workstations and in the instruction room, so it did not make sense to provide refreshments on the other floors.

This station was a learning opportunity, just like all the other stations. Displays on grains and spices of the Silk Road countries complemented an array of apples (native to Kazakhstan), breads, and desserts of Silk Road countries. Additionally, custom-made fortune cookies projected future library success through fortunes such as "Asking for help from a librarian brings you great help, health, wealth and happiness" and "Evaluate the sources you find for your research. The questioning person finds success and great wealth."

Upon visiting this station, attendees...
  • Knew more about cuisine, grains, and spices of countries along the Silk Road.
  • Sampled and appreciated foods characteristic to Silk Road culture.

Station 11: Assessment

We wanted to gauge the success of the orientation, and the assessment was a quick and efficient way to do that. All participants who desired to register for prizes or who wanted extra credit were required to complete the assessment. This topic will be discussed further in the next section.


The only mandatory station on the Silk Road map was the evaluation station. In order for students to be eligible for extra credit and raffle prizes, they had to stop at this station and fill out a short, eight-question survey prepared by the organizing committee. Stamping student passports at each station allowed library staff at the end of the Silk Road route to assess whether or not students had completed the survey. Strategically placing the Evaluation station next to the Food station allowed students to complete the survey while sampling various Silk Road delights. Since a major focus of the orientation was introducing freshman and sophomore science and education students to the library, the first two questions asked students their year and major/department.

The library received 350 completed surveys at the Evaluation station (an estimated 100-150 did not complete the survey, including many faculty). Sixty-two percent of respondents identified themselves as first-year students. Several faculty required the orientation as part of their class. Most of these classes were entry-level science classes, resulting in a high percentage of first-year student attendees. The second largest group were juniors, with 16 percent.

Figure 1. Attendance By Class Year
Status % of Attendees
First-Year Students 62%
Sophomore 11%
Junior 16%
Senior 6%
Graduate Student 3%
Faculty/Staff 1%

The majority of students attending the orientation were Engineering and Early Childhood Education majors, at nearly 80 percent (Figure 2). This is because all first-year engineering/computer science students were required to attend and several Early Childhood faculty had given their students an extra-credit option for attending. Interestingly, 6 percent of students in attendance identified themselves as Business majors. This could likely be explained by the high first-year student attendance, or that the Business building is located directly across from the Science Library. In whichever case, a concern was that the number of Business majors was greater than many other of the scientific disciplines.

Figure 2: Attendance By Major
Attendee Major % of Attendees
Engineering/Computer Science 60%
Education 20%
Business 6%
Life Sciences 3%
Earth Sciences 3%
Physical Sciences 1%
Other Majors 7%

The next set of questions required students to mark on a scale of 1 to 5 their agreement with four statements focusing on comfort and knowledge of the library. These questions helped us to gauge whether we met our goals (see the beginning of the paper for our list of goals). We also attempted to measure the possibility of future attendance at Silk Road events (Question 6). This was included in the survey as a direct result of the library's partnership with the Havighurst Center.

3. I feel more comfortable with library services after attending the orientation
4. I better understand library services now that I have attended the orientation
5. I know whom to contact when I need help with library research
6. I will likely attend other Silk Road events now that I know more about it

The results of the survey indicated that we did reach our goals for the orientation, with 70-80 percent of students agreeing with statements presented. After the orientation, we felt quite comfortable that we had achieved our goals. As an added bonus, we also became the kick-off event for the Silk Road initiative. As the survey results indicated, nearly half of those who attended planned to attend other Silk Road events.

Figure 3: Attendee Feelings About Library Services After the Orientation
Question % Agree % Neutral % Disagree
"I Know Whom To Contact When I Need Help With Research" 78 15 7
"I Better Understand Library Services now that I have attended the Orientation" 73 21 6
"I feel more comfortable with library services after attending the orientation" 76 20 4
"I will attend other Silk Road Events" 46 33 21

The last two survey questions were open-ended:

7. Name one thing that you learned about the library today.
8. In what methods could we improve/change this orientation?

When asked to name one thing learned about the library at the end of the orientation, 51 percent of student responses had to do with one or more aspect of reference services. The two most popular responses included RefWorks and Olinks, OhioLINK's document linking service. From there students expressed a new knowledge of library and IMC resources, often distinguishing between the two.

Figure 4: Items Learned at Orientation
Item Learned % Response
Reference Services (esp. RefWorks) 49%
Library Services (esp. laptops) 14%
IMC Services 14%
Silk Road Information 6%
Maps 5%
Other Responses 12%

While the majority of students did not include ideas to improve or change the event, the comments that were included will be extremely helpful when planning for the next year's event. Students commented on orientation organization and station content. Interestingly, 15 students thought there should be more of a focus on library orientation. Balancing the theme and library instruction was something the committee discussed quite frequently. The committee suggested that planning for the next event should allow more time to better integrate library information into the theme.

Figure 5: Improvement Suggestions for Future Orientations (only top suggestions included)
Suggestion %Response
No Comments 45%
Add more stations/add to existing stations 9%
Organization changes (less backup at stations) 9%
Focus more on library orientation 6%
More free stuff/food 6%
Make maps station shorter/easier to understand 5%
More hands on activities (e.g scavenger hunts) 5%
Shorter/Later in the day 5%
Advertise more 4%

In addition to feedback received through the survey at the evaluation station, librarians also received comments from faculty following the event. One faculty member in particular had required students to report on the event in a classroom assignment. He wrote:

"My students wrote some fantastic things about the Silk Road. As you may know I had it as part of the homework assignments #4. I actually asked them to write a reflective essay on the experience and link it to the design process, and create a flow chart using the top-down design method we teach them in class. And most of them did a great job and the best part is that they said they loved it and learned a lot about the libraries and enjoyed meeting the staff, looking forward to take Miami Plans that teach them more about history and such..."

"Follow the Silk Road to Brill Science Library" 2006

The beginning of summer signaled that it was time to begin planning for the second year of Brill Science Library's interactive, engaging orientation program. With a successful event behind us, we decided to build on the event's strengths, trying some new approaches that would not only enhance our relationships with our patrons, but also showcase the Science Library as a welcoming environment that is conducive to learning.

For the most part, event basics remained unchanged from the previous year. Three of the library's four levels were dedicated to the event, leaving the top floor for quiet study. Camel's feet led the way from station to station. Library staff engaged students in conversations about Silk Road-related topics and library services. Passports tracked attendance while also providing a way for students to receive extra credit and enter prize drawings similar to the previous year. An array of food from Silk Road countries, together with sheet cakes decorated with the event's logo, provided a welcome afternoon snack for participants to enjoy while listening to recordings of music from Silk Road countries, provided by Miami's Amos Music Library.

Recognizing the difficulty in guiding hundreds of visitors through the library without congestion, we had originally considered having participants enter the event at certain times. However, we thought that this approach might not be conducive to busy student schedules. Therefore, we decided that more staffing at each station, particularly those designed to welcome students and collect their evaluation forms, would provide a more streamlined experience for participants. Additionally, navigation through the library was improved with greater signage and with staff member "tour guides" to assist those who lost their way.

Expanding the number of self-directed stations about specific topics, with a shorter time requirement at each station, was beneficial. New stations included Miami's Wertz Art and Architecture Library's virtual tour of how to use the ARTstor Collection, a digital image repository available as an electronic resource from the library's web site. User-initiated three-minute podcasts on Silk Road history, tourism, and gemstones were prepared by faculty and staff members and read by one of the library's graduate student assistants. One station featured a "Great Wall of Resources," in which library resources were displayed on a hand-painted depiction of the Great Wall of China. At the IMC, students enjoyed having their picture taken with a camel made by IMC student employees and making a construction-paper square for a Kazakhstan-inspired Dream Quilt. New partnerships with academic departments and other campus and community organizations complemented existing partnerships with the university's geology museum, greenhouse and art museum. Extra credit offered to dietetics and nutrition majors brought a new dimension to student participation.

Better promotion also enhanced our second orientation event. Once again, a countdown poster at the Science Library's entrance, together with postings on the library's web site and electronic bulletin board in the main library, sparked patron curiosity. In the weeks preceding the event, 400 visitors to the event's {blog} checked in to receive updates on speakers, prizes, food, and extra credit opportunities. Entries on online events calendars, a press release for campus and community news vehicles, published stories about the event, and radio public service announcements airing the week before the event contributed to marketing success.

Attendance for the 2006 version was just over 400 people. This was good news considering that education majors were not a major attendee this year. It was previously thought that the IMC have moved back to their permanent quarters by the time of the event. However, several weeks before the event, when it was evident that the move would come after Silk Road, we asked them to be a part of the event. While we did our best to get word out to Education majors, the time just was not there.

Once again, the evaluation station was the only mandatory stop on the event tour for students to be eligible for extra credit and prizes. However, this year, students completed a database-driven {electronic survey} to record their impressions of the six stations that they visited. Responses were very similar to the 2005 session, although the attendance was less skewed towards one discipline as it was in 2005.

Future Sessions

With two successful orientation sessions completed, the event has become an integral and expected part of the fall semester at Brill. An orientation session will occur in future years, with a new theme and a new funding source as well.

Funding for the event is a challenge. Successfully implementing an event on this scale is not inexpensive. A combination of external funding, generous donations, and a value-conscious committee were essential for this orientation. Identifying and applying for external funding early in the process is one of the keys to success.


Cahoy, E.S., and Bichel, R.M. 2004. A luau in the library? A new model of library orientation. College & Undergraduate Libraries 11(1):49-60

Fawcett, T., and Funtik, L. 2004. freshman into the library. Poster presented at OhioLINK Reference Rendezvous, Columbus, OH.

Marcus, S., and Beck, S. 2003. A library adventure: Comparing a treasure hunt with a traditional freshman orientation tour. College & Research Libraries 64(1): 23-44.

Appendix A

Example script from Reference Oasis station

Welcome to Brill's Reference Desk. As you sample your teas (some more information about teas is on the poster behind you), I'll give a brief overview of what we do. We offer service in person, by telephone, and by chat. DEMONSTRATE HOW TO ACCESS CHAT You can also contact your liaison librarian (business cards will be available).

How many of you have visited the library's homepage. CONDUCT AN OVERVIEW IF NOT MANY HAVE VISITED. Some neat things you'll find at the library's homepage includes Miami pictures from the 1800's (demonstrate the Snyder Digital Collection), and other Miami information.

How many have looked for journal articles before? Academic Search Premier is a database that contains lots of journal articles. If we do a quick search for tea production in China (DEMONSTRATE BOOLEAN), we see that there are several articles to choose from. Some are available full text. We can also click on "Find a Copy" to see if we own the item. (DEMONSTRATE URL LINKING)

Appendix B

Passport Design (Front and Back of Passport)

The Inside of Passport

Appendix C

Example Poster

Appendix D

Directional Map for Attendees

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