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Academic Outreach librarians at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) offer a full range of instructional services to support upper-level and graduate students. Like most academic libraries, this includes workshops as well as course-integrated instruction and small group or individual consultations. While the latter have grown over the years, workshop attendance has dwindled. Offerings were cut until almost none were left, leaving a void but more importantly providing an opportunity to re-envision the role of workshops in outreach efforts.
The Advance Your Research workshop series was developed to go beyond traditional instruction to explore new and different themes and audiences, demonstrating the libraries’ relevance to the research process. Sessions and promotion efforts specifically targeted graduate students embracing new channels of communication and topics more closely aligned with the needs of today’s scholarly communication including the world of data, scholarly publishing, and modern copyright issues, as well as old standards like literature reviews and citation management. Collaboration between subject specialists and other experts in the library encouraged the creation of strong instructional content.
This poster presentation details the launch of the successful series that included two full days of workshops with additional online and in person sessions. Thus far, the sessions have exceeded attendance expectations and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The poster covers the planning process with illustrative examples of promotional material and strategies, as well as discusses evaluative measures used to continually improve the workshop experience.