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What's Up: Oviatt Library Outreach Services

Contributed by Debilyn Kinzler

Librarian Coleen Martin giving a tour to outreach students.
Librarian Coleen Martin giving a tour to outreach students.

A university’s library is often the heart of its campus. Much more than just a place for students to gather, do homework, study for finals, or work on a group projects, a university Library functions as both a symbol of the power of education and as a touchstone for a university’s pulse and spirit. The Oviatt Library is no exception. With their active Outreach Services, the Oviatt Library’s staff and faculty are committed to sharing CSUN’s power and spirit with the surrounding community and future generations of college graduates.

As part of their commitment and service to the greater San Fernando Valley community, the Library conducts community and student tours. Library tours can be geared toward each visiting group’s specific needs or interests. All student tours are conducted by Oviatt librarians. For current CSUN students, the focus of the tour is often centered on the Library’s wide variety of services; however for non-CSUN students the tours can be tailored to specific areas of interest. According to Outreach Librarian Coleen Martin, K-12 and community college tours provide prospective CSUN students with an opportunity to see a variety of the resources and services that a college library has to offer. “When students visit the Creative Media Studio and find out that our students have access to Go Pro Cameras for their projects, and then they visit the Teacher Curriculum Center and find puppets and games that are used in classrooms, they realize just how much our library has,” says Martin. “After a tour, it’s not uncommon for young people to say that they can’t wait to come to school at CSUN once they graduate. And that’s what we love to hear.”

A Young Student Looking at an Exhibition in the Library Gallery
A young student looking at an exhibition in the Library Exhibit Gallery

For our community visitors, tours are offered through a volunteer docent program run by the Oviatt’s Friends of the Library. Individual community members or groups are encouraged to tour the state-of-the-art facility and to get acquainted with the vast resources and diverse programming that the Oviatt Library has to offer.

In addition to the tours, Oviatt’s Outreach Services also offers the option of Library instruction to visiting K-12 and community college classes. Last year, Oviatt librarians conducted 37 Library lectures to 1,190 local students. The goal of these lectures is to teach research and critical thinking skills that will help students to be more successful in their coursework. “Our class visit to the Oviatt allowed me for the first time to really feel that I did my job in providing my students access to individuals that really taught them how to research,” says Carrie McClellan, Teacher and International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator at Agoura High School. 

Through their Outreach Services, the Oviatt Library is clearly committed to the academic success of CSUN students, both current and future. For more information or to schedule a tour, please visit Oviatt Library Tours on the Library website.