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Plotting a New Map-tastic Course: Building community and unearthing collections through pop-up exhibits

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 4.0 license

Subject specialty libraries thrive on active user communities, but building support can be slow and time-consuming. In Fall 2014, two new librarians in the Earth Sciences and Map Library at UC Berkeley introduced a series of pop-up exhibits called “Maps and More” in order to help build that community.  Held at regular intervals, the show-and-tell sessions were designed to lure users into the library and spark new connections between patrons, librarians, and collections. Librarians experimented with format, from self-guided exploration and casual conversation to collaborative digital map making and presentations from a digital history class. Topics included local trail maps, mapping your Thanksgiving meal, and geologic atlases. Dedicated libguides (shared at preserved the curated content of the temporary exhibits and allowed for continuing engagement. Sessions were advertised using the library and university public calendars, as well as departmental email lists, posters in the library, and word of mouth.  

At the start of each Spring 2015 session, participants were surveyed regarding their familiarity with the library and its collections. The program was then evaluated at the end of the academic year with an email survey designed to assess the impact of “Maps and More” (in terms of visitors’ perception of the events and awareness of library services) and the future opportunities that might grow out of its exchanges. The poster will include pictures of the events, examples of the libguides and interactive sessions, and data from user surveys.

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