Librarians welcome students with party

Tracy Ellingson

University librarians and their staff plan to shatter all stereotypes about libraries tonight between 4 and 7 p.m. as they entertain students at an “Unconventional Library Welcomes U” party.
Walter, Wilson and St. Paul Central libraries are inviting all potential library users to come for pizza, music and party favors while finding out more about the University’s library system, the 15th largest in the United States. Party attendees can view demonstrations of CD-ROM programs, the Internet and services unique to the different libraries, such as Wilson’s computerized mapping system.
“The (party’s) effect will be that of an open house,” said John Butler, an associate librarian at Walter library, “but we are targeting new students and undergraduates.”
Wilson Associate Librarian Susan Gangl said she hopes the party will show students that the library staff is anxious to help and that the library is really a friendly place.
“We want (the party) to be noisy,” St. Paul Central Library Associate Librarian Jo Ann De Vries said. “We want it to be fun.”
De Vries said the party is intended to make the library system seem smaller, more personable and welcoming to students, as well as to dispel some of the stereotypes that surround libraries and librarians.
“We’re no longer stuffed shirts or bun-wearing old ladies,” De Vries said.
She said University librarians have a thorough understanding of the libraries’ resources, but they are able to convey the information in a way that is easy for students to understand.
Students who can’t make it to tonight’s bash can visit with librarians and their staff at information tables in the front of each library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Monday.
Janice Jaguszewski, a librarian who assisted students at Walter’s information tables Thursday morning, said most questions were from new students trying to find places to use e-mail and the Internet, and the nearest computer labs.