Indiana University Libraries is inviting incoming students into their virtual home with cookies. Librarians cannot physically welcome new students into the Herman B Wells Library for pizza, conversation, popcorn, dancing, or gaming so instead they are offering the best cookies on campus.
Smart Cookies is the delicious idea of Learning Commons Librarian Meredith Knoff and Outreach and Engagement Librarian Mike Courtney. In charge of Welcome Week in the past, the two librarians wanted to do something interactive with incoming students. The invitation for Smart Cookies showed up first in the June 9 Indiana Daily Student (IDS) home edition. Featuring the traditional iced IU trident cookie from Sugar and Spice, the ad encouraged students to log on to a special IU Libraries webpage. Look for more invitations throughout the third week of August.
Typically, IU Libraries loves connecting directly with new students during Welcome Week. “The First Year Experience is about getting students to start smart in their IU career,” Knoff says. Working closely with The Office of First Year Experience (FYE), the Wells Library, which serves as a vital point of orientation, culminates its activities every year with the Herman B House Party (HBHP). Truly sorry there would be no physical party for 2020, Knoff and Courtney wanted an experience that was more than a virtual how-to.
"This event is 99% promoting the Learning Commons and facilitating the ownership of the space and resources to the undergraduate population," Courtney explains. Consequently, the special page librarians made for new students is a welcome to the IU Libraries. Six resources are covered on four pages: research assistance available, IUCAT and interlibrary loan, e-resources, video tutorials, and research guides. After examining the information, the new student takes a quiz, enabling them to win a free cookie.
Knoff and Courtney cannot stress enough that even though library services are mostly virtual, the IU Libraries want to meet students. For “very personalized help,” you can schedule a virtual consultation with a Learning Commons librarian or assistant. They are there for each student. They want to help new students with their class research, questions, or support in general.
Courtney said that they chose to stick with the original Welcome Week time-line, ending the Smart Cookie invitation on August 20, the night HBHP would have taken place. “Because we couldn’t welcome students in with large numbers, we wanted to end this on the same day as a memorial to the Herman B House Party,” Courtney added.
“We really wanted to open the doors and have students come in,” Courtney emphasizes. Though librarians and staff are disappointed, the pandemic has made them clarify their message to incoming students. Knoff wants students to know the message: “Here’s what you can do with the Libraries. Let us be your academic partner.”
Housed at the IMU, for over 50 years Sugar and Spice has been the go-to bakery on campus. Though librarians often prefer the big chocolate chip cookies, the famous Gingerbread people are fairly popular as well. Want something with an IU brand? This is your bakery. Currently, Sugar and Spice is being remodeled, but their cookies and other fine confections can be bought at the Union Market.
Look for the Smart Cookie ads on Instagram, Twitter, and around the Wells Library. Because this year is different due to pandemic, get to know the new virtual home of the IU Libraries on the IU Libraries Restart Page. You can set up a personal consultation or ask us at any time for help. The Smart Cookie ads kick off August 16 and run through August 20.