GCC Library wins Massachusetts Library Association Public Relations Award

May 7, 2009

On May 7, 2009, Greenfield Community College’s Library will receive a 2009 Massachusetts Library Association Public Relations Award for a video commercial created to promote the library. GCC Librarian Eric Poulin and Library Co-Coordinator Ellen Carey will attend the MLA Annual Conference in Springfield, MA to accept the award. Eric Poulin developed, wrote, directed, starred in, and edited the video.

A take-off on the Charlie’s Angels TV series and other 1970s cop shows, the video shows Library staff springing into action to help a student panicked by an assignment to write a research paper. With great humor and footage of GCC staff in action, the video shows students how “your library card provides you with access to billions of information resources that the wimpy internet just can’t get to.”

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The three-minute video, available on YouTube and the Library’s website http://www.gcc.mass.edu/library/ features performances by Library staff, Library student worker Pavel Angelchev, GCC President Bob Pura, Dean of Academic Affairs David Ram, Professor Thomas Simmons, and other college staff. Garry Longe, GCC Media Specialist was instrumental in the video’s production.

The video commercial is one of the Library staff’s many outreach efforts to connect with students and make the Library accessible. The video has been shown at New Student Orientation, Library “Boot Camp” and Reference Office Hours at the GCC Downtown Center and the East Building. The video lets students know they can connect with librarians via email, text messaging, phone, and on the web, as well as in person. The Library’s usage statistics show the outreach efforts are effective. Database usage increased 33% from 2007 to 2008 and circulation of print materials increased 14% during the same time period.

The Massachusetts Library Association isn’t the only professional organization taking notice of the GCC Library video. The American Library Association’s e-newsletter, American Libraries Direct, featured an article about the video in the April 29th issue. Between August 2008, when the video was originally posted on YouTube, and April 27th, the video got 918 views on YouTube. After American Libraries Direct mentioned the video, it got over 1,000 views in just one week.

“The MLA Award is a nice acknowledgement that we’re doing a good job with our outreach efforts. By creating the video and posting it on YouTube, we deliberately are using a social networking tool that is popular with the students we’re trying to reach. And by poking fun at ourselves, we’re challenging stereotypes of librarians and outdated notions of what libraries are” said Library Co-Coordinator Ellen Carey.

Eric Poulin said “The idea for the video commercial came after I researched and published an article about how librarians are portrayed on YouTube by non-librarians.” We wanted to let students know that the GCC Librarians go above and beyond to make sure students have access to quality material.

Lindy Gougeon, GCC’s Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, said, “The video was fun for everyone who performed in and supported it, a pleasure for its viewing audience, and is a source of pride for the institution. We’re proud of the Library staff and their hard work on behalf of our students. It is wonderful for them to get acknowledged by other professionals for their work. They are real pros at what they do, and they approach their work creatively and with a great sense of humor.”