Document Type

Keeping Up with Change

Publication Date



The millennial generation presents new challenges for today�s librarians. Born between 1980 and 2000, this is the largest generation in U.S. history and will be entering colleges in record numbers over the next ten years. Library literature identifies the Millennials as a specific user group with distinguishing characteristics; they are self-assured, optimistic, well-educated, collaborative, and open-minded. They rely on friendships, and can share their opinions instantaneously with a vast social network via new technologies. Millennials expect customization in their learning environments and have high expectations for today�s academic libraries.

Freshman orientation is the first impression of the academic library for most of these students. It is often viewed by staff as a "make it or break it" moment, especially in schools where there is no formal information literacy program. In 2005, Swarthmore College developed a winning freshman orientation program-- the most successful orientation to date--that meets the learning preferences of this generation by incorporating technology, structure and leadership by library staff, fun, silliness, experiential activities, exposure to positive people, personal interactions, and rewards.

The presenters will discuss their process of goal-setting, program development, and assessment for freshman orientation. They will also present their research on freshman orientations in the 76 Oberlin Group colleges, and discuss the often ambiguous relationship between freshman library orientation and information literacy programs. Attendees will learn best practices for developing dynamic freshman orientation programs that provide Millenials with a positive first impression of the academic library.