by Rebecca Vogler, Head Editor, INALJ Ohio
Creating Research Guides for Events or Special Occasions
In academia, research guides, like LibGuides, are often used to help students find resources in a particular subject area or class topic. Many will list databases, textbooks, e-journals, websites, and reference works. They are an amazing resource, especially for those who are unable to access information within a physical campus library. However, they can be used for so much more.
For Pride Month, my library is creating a physical and an online exhibit to celebrate and learn about the LGBTQ community. We are gathering academic books as well as fiction, comics, and graphic novels to showcase. The librarians on the exhibits committee that I serve on also want the exhibit to include resources for those in the LGBTQ community, or those who serve as an ALLY. As a companion to the exhibit, I have created my first solo LibGuide as a paraprofessional librarian. As a graduate student, I had previously co-created a LibGuide with my boss on the subject of Mathematical Sciences.
My LGBTQ LibGuide focuses on LGBTQ organizations on my university’s campus, within the larger St. Louis metro area, and also nationwide. Therefore, most of my LibGuide consists of links – lots of links -to websites and e-mail addresses. To keep the pages looking clean, I chose to divide up my categories, so the LibGuide itself consists of four separate pages. The first is a welcome page with my profile, picture, and contact information. It is so important to use that space to warmly welcome those who happen upon your LibGuide and to clearly state your reason for creating it. The second page is devoted to local campus organizations. There were far more than I ever imagined! The next page focused on St. Louis area and national organizations. The last page consisted of ALLY organization links.
To keep it interesting, I added a few graphics here and there, some color to the headers, and added fun things like an Events page and Twitter widget for the local LGBT center. Finally, I added a poll on the front welcome page so I can get feedback from those who use my LibGuide. To make sure I did not forget any important LGBTQ organizations, I talked to some of my co-workers who are part of the LGBTQ community to get their opinions.
Lastly, don’t forget that LibGuides are living and breathing documents on the internet. Remember when you create something with links to other sites and an events calendar, you will need to constantly check on it, update the calendar, delete old content, and fix broken links. If you don’t, your LibGuide will no longer be the accurate resource your academic community needs.
This has been a great experience for me. Through my research, I found an LGBT organization in St. Louis for the senior citizen crowd and found out that one of my favorite co-workers runs it. I learned some of her story which I had been previously unaware of, and she gave me the names of more groups that cater to the older population. Since my LibGuide is not just for traditionally aged students, but for the whole academic community at my university, I was thrilled to be able to add more resources to fit the needs of smaller minority group. Furthermore, I gained more experience in the realm of reference librarianship, which can only look good on my resume. If you are looking for more ways to serve your library and get more experience, consider asking for LibGuide Admin privileges (or whatever type of reference guide your library uses) and start experimenting!
If you would like to check out what I made, please visit http://libguides.wustl.edu/lgbt
Happy Pride Month!!