What’s UP @ LAU Libraries
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May 11, 2012—
LAU held its third annual Library Open House Day on May 8 on both campuses, drawing students from all of LAU’s schools and a wide range of degree programs.
While the primary purpose of the event is to promote library resources and services among the university’s student body, there is also an outreach component, according to Cendrella Habre, director of the Riyad Nassar library in Beirut.
While some browsed exhibitions set up by publishers and vendors, others gathered around game booths to try their hands at puzzles, memory games and the wheel of fortune.
“This is a smart way to attract students,” said Abdel Kareem Dagher, a second-year architecture student who won at the wheel of fortune. “It’s a playful approach, but we have learned a lot both in terms of general knowledge and about what the library has to offer,” he added.
Corporate presentations on the role of technology in education were also held throughout the day. Adkom, for example, a prominent firm in Lebanon’s computer industry, discussed the growing use of tablet computers such as iPads and Kindles.
In recent years, LAU’s libraries have turned increasingly to social media outlets such as Facebook and YouTube for promotional purposes. The approach has been effective, Habre says, drawing for example 2500 students daily to the Riyad Nassar library on the Beirut campus. The smaller library at LAU Byblos now sees such heavy use that it will be relocated to the new School of Medicine building for larger space.
This year’s open house was designed to continue in that vein. “We wanted to introduce library resources and services to students using their language, which is increasingly the language of social networking,” said Habre.
Under the heading “What’s UP@LAU Libraries” — a reference to the popular networking application What’s App — the event kicked off with a library treasure hunt on both campuses. Teams had to produce answers to questions using a variety of library search methods.
“I had forgotten what it is to actually use books,” Aseel Jalaleddine, a business and marketing major, sheepishly conceded. “My friends and I mainly use the library to study, and the internet for our research,” she said.
Prizes included iPads, iPods, USB bracelets, trips to Cyprus and various vouchers, all provided by the event’s 17 sponsors.
This year’s open house was timed to coincide with the OCLC Global Council’s first membership meeting in the MENA region. Habre was recently elected as a delegate representing the Middle East and India.
The meeting focused both on recruitment and the thorny issue of Arabic script.
“Very few libraries use Arabic script to enter their records,” said Habre. “But doing so could make the region’s resources more visible to the rest of the world.”
Janet Lees, OCLC EMEA Community Liaison, expressed her appreciation for the organization of the meeting. “I was totally impressed by the level of professionalism in the region and the excellent teamwork of LAU staff,” she said adding that OCLC team is going back with interesting thoughts and ideas to put into perspective.
“It was a successful day. One could really feel a greater interaction between the students and the library and its resources,” said Joseph Hage, director of the Byblos Library.
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