May 6, 2019
Joanna Armstrong, marketing communications specialist at Stephen F. Austin State University

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — A librarian at Stephen F. Austin State University is using visual clue cards, cell phones and scavenger hunts to help students familiarize themselves with Steen Library.

Working with SFA 101 classes, Melissa Clark uses this interactive activity to ensure that students are aware of the various resources available in the library.

“It’s about highlighting those different things and where they are located and getting students comfortable navigating the library on their own,” Clark said.

During the activity, students are split into groups and given a packet of three cards with pictures of items to find in and around the library. From specific books to vending machines and study spaces, the groups take photos when they find the specified item or location. Once the photos are uploaded, the groups meet with Clark to talk about what they found and how it might be useful to them during their time at SFA.

Clark previously worked as a reference and instructional librarian at South Dakota State University, but decided she wanted to work more closely with students. At SFA, she is Steen Library’s student engagement librarian.

“I wanted to do more work that looked at the wider context instead of just meeting a student in class and never seeing them again,” she said. “I wanted to work with outreach and events and get more involved with our students and recruitment.”

Clarks helps organize the library’s presence at Showcase Saturday and new student and transfer student orientations. She also holds an annual convocation for students and hosts events for Banned Books Week, National Poetry Month and National Library Week.

In recognition of her work, she was awarded a Bright Spot award by the SFA Faculty Senate, the Center for Teaching and Learning and the SFA vice presidents.

“The reason the library exists is to help students succeed,” Clark said. “We really want them to take advantage of it so they can be successful here at the university.”

For more information about Steen Library, visit library.sfasu.edu.