This summer I will start to design the first experience with my new UX hat. I plan on doing a K-12 Experience, largely because this is one area that my university has deemed important. In a recent town hall meeting that our university president gave, three or four slides were dedicated to the K-12 outreach being done on campus.
Does this mean giving tours to 120 students? Maybe; but that is not the intention of my design. I want my library to put together an experience that is wonderful for the students. And, consistently wonderful–we will plan whom they will interact with, what they see, have suggestions to the teachers for assignments, and have handouts that are age-appropriate. Additionally, this puts the library in the mind of those on campus that are already interacting with K-12 groups. I want them to know that we are a resource in their efforts too.
Why would a university library go to such measures? Well, for a lot of reasons.
Many school libraries in Texas are closing; mostly for money reasons. This means, over time, that a large number of students will come to my university perhaps lacking in the fundamental value that libraries are a crucial part of their academic success. I want to make sure that while they are still in their K-12 world that they understand the incredible role that a library can play not only in their academic success, but in their lifelong learning.
As academic libraries think about K-12, we help to ensure the continuity of library values across generations. And, I am happy that I get to be a small part of that process.