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CNIE - Beyond the Library's Walls: Gathering Place

Cplul’kw’ten : the Gathering Place

The library has been providing at least a couple of hours of drop-in research help per week at the aboriginal Gathering Place, Cplul’kw’ten, since at least 2008. Statistics weren’t regularly collected the first several years, but numbers have never been huge – perhaps 2 or 3 questions in a 2 or 3 hour shift. That said, librarian presence at Cplul’kw’ten isn’t just about the numbers; it’s also about building relationships with staff and students. For the past few years we’ve been providing help on weekly “Soup Day” so that we also get the opportunity to meet, eat, and talk with students. The hope is that by becoming a more familiar face in “their” spaces at set times during the week, students will feel more comfortable seeking us out for help in “our” library spaces when they need help at other times – and the students who drop by librarian offices specifically because they know a particular face, or who book appointments for help asking for specific librarians, at least anecdotally suggest that this is the case.

Winter 2013: 32 questions (entire term)

Fall 2014: 24 questions

Winter 2014: 21 questions

Winter 2014: we added to the “Library Team” at Cplul’kw’ten, having 2 library technicians provide the drop-in help on soup days (so answer those 21 questions,) while the librarian scheduled and taught a series of 6 mini 15-minute workshops at the Gathering Place at other times. The idea was that the drop-in reference services would be promoted at the workshops, and vice-versa, hopefully overall increasing awareness about the availability of the Library Team and the assistance we are able to provide.

It wasn't the first time we'd done workshops in this space, but it was the first time we attempted a full series, with prize incentives for students who attended 2 or more of the workshops. In all, 17 students participated in workshops, in addition to the 21 reference questions received that semster - and all of the other students we chatted with over soup!