Cassidy Smith, Staff Writer
Music, food and balloons filled the scene of the Library Tailgate at the Houston Cole Library on Thursday, October 26. The event’s purpose was to engage students with the priceless resource of librarians and the information that they can help students find. Each floor had a table set up with information regarding what exactly could be found there. Students were given “Tailgate Tickets,” and as they visited each table, they got a hole punched in the ticket; when the ticket was filled, the students would be entered into a raffle to win door prizes from local businesses and vendors.
The goal was to create a comfortable and welcoming environment for both students and the Jacksonville community. “We want to send a message to the campus community that we are open and here for everyone,” explained Kim Westbrooks, the Business & Social Sciences librarian, who directed the event. “We strive to decrease library anxiety; the media portrays libraries as uninviting places with dusty old librarians who won’t even let you talk. But we are here to facilitate any and all research and to make lives easier.”
According to Westbrooks, the library is home to over 300 electronic databases (Westbrooks suggested libguides.jsu.edu) and 8000 books. The second-floor reference desk, which houses a librarian during all hours of operation, is available to help students navigate that overwhelming statistic.
For community members who are not JSU students (or for future alumni who plan to stick around Jacksonville), there is an option to become a “Friend of the Library,” which allows any member of the community to check out books and use the library resources for $30 a year.
The Library Tailgate was a “non-traditional method to bring more people into the library,” said Dean of Library Services John-Bauer Graham. “We’re trying something different that can appeal to everyone.”
To showcase and celebrate the unique themes of each floor, the corresponding librarian set up a table containing books from their floors, educational pictures and information, and their business cards to get in touch with them for help.
See more photos from the Library’s tailgate here! All photos by Hollie Ivey/The Chanticleer