Libraries and the Creative Majors: How to Appeal to the Student Who Never Leaves the Workshop

After years of working in an academic library, you know a thing or two about what students need to find success. Liberal arts majors come to the library looking for physical resources like books and literary magazines, while business majors are often crowding the study rooms to practice their upcoming group presentations. But what about the students who have gladly swapped their laptops for paintbrushes and textbooks for film reels? These studio art, theater and media production students have needs that may not relate to what’s in your library today—or so they think.

How do you appeal to the creative majors on your campus? Read on for our tips.

Expand your collections

Students who are exploring creative majors like art, dance and filmmaking often spend long hours in their workspaces, and due to the nature of their majors they might not spend as much time in the library as other students. But they still need access to research materials. Take a look around your campus and figure out which creative majors are the most popular. Reach out to professors to learn more about their syllabi. Does African Dance Aesthetics require a research paper? Make sure your collections can accommodate this study.
Invest in online journals that publish on the subjects of music, dance and theater. Enhance your media collections with videos of Merce Cunningham performances, the films of Djibril Diop Mambéty and top recordings of Hans-Jürgen von Bose. Books, musical scores and movie/play scripts are also great additions to these research collections.

Create viewing/listening rooms

In the same way that biology students study by reading over a textbook and notes, creative majors study by watching and listening to performances. Now that your library boasts the collections of top creative artists, you can help creative majors “hit the books” by offering a quiet place for them to take in their study materials.
Designate specific study spaces in your library as group viewing and listening rooms for creative majors. By equipping these areas with headphones, stereos, media players and projectors, students can use the proper audio/visual tools to watch and listen to these important performances. After all, you wouldn’t want music majors listening to the versatile sound of Yo-Yo Ma on just any sound system, would you?

Roll out the tech

Creative majors like animators, graphic designers and filmmakers often rely on expensive technology and computer programs to complete their coursework. Because some of this technology is so expensive, it’s important that your university offer access to programs and hardware in a communal space.

Offering a digital resource lab with Mac computers, drawing tablets and programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Elements and Final Cut Pro will help bring graphic and film arts majors from out of the lab and into the library. And while they’re there, they just might stumble upon that cool collection of old Alfred Hitchcock films the library acquired last semester.

Want to see an awesome performance arts library in action? Head on over to Kent State University’s library website and see how they serve their creative students.
Think your library is as cutting-edge as Kent State? Time to find out! Take Mango Language’s Quiz to see if you are up to snuff on academic innovation.

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