Defining and Redefining Outreach to Special Populations
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Outreach is one of those inaccurate words that can vary in meaning in different contexts. This presentation will address the specific and tailored approach I have taken at the University of Maryland to define outreach in order to make it both a manageable goal and an impactful project. Specifically in this presentation I will outline and explain the methods I used to determine the “right-fit” for outreach efforts through assessment, research, and shot-in-the-dark guessing. While I will be focusing on a specific feature of the UMD campus, I believe the process is applicable to most academic librarians trying to find a good fit within diverse programs on campus. The bulk of my presentation will be on what we call “Living and Learning” programs, but I will also address work with other offices such as the student support office and the office for transfer students. I hope to share some methods for success as well as some areas for growth and how to learn from failures in order to find the right fit with other programs. I will be contrasting new and traditional forms of librarianship and discussing how “outreach” is and should continue to become a shared effort across all departments of the library.