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Occasional Papers

Occasional Paper 22: Alumni Outreach by University Libraries

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Prepared by Richard W. Meyer, Dean and Director of Libraries, Georgia Tech, and Mary Jane Mayo, Research Consultant, Northern Light Technologies, Inc.

The University Library Alumni Outreach Research Project described in this report emerged from an interest at the Georgia Institute of Technology Library and Information center in extending services offered to alumni. The goals of the project were twofold: (1) to describe and analyze alumni outreach initiatives currently offered by university libraries belonging to the Association of research libraries (ARL) as well as the alumni programs and services offered by the universities themselves through traditional organizations such as university alumni associations; and (2) to identify possible future initiatives that might be meaningful to university alumni along with noteworthy examples of technological or programmatic innovation.

Phase One of the project comprised a comprehensive survey of the websites of the 112 ARL academic library members to identify pertinent links for alumni outreach and to canvass library development efforts. This phase also included an examination of the parent university homepages to identify alumni outreach initiatives stemming from university development organizations--such as an alumni association--that were not necessarily directly connected to the library. This web review captured relevant descriptive information about current alumni outreach efforts in the major American and Canadian research universities. Results from Phase One were used to identify issues regarding the actual importance, value, and context of alumni outreach initiatives within each university and to construct an interview instrument to address these issues.

The goal of Phase Two was to identify and describe--through phone interviews with university librarians, deans, and directors--the general state of library-sponsored alumni outreach within each of the universities, and planned alumni programs and services, areas of potential future innovation, and general perceptions regarding the current and future role of alumni in the life and vigor of the university library.

Descriptive data gathered during Phase one, combined with the more anecdotal, evaluative content from Phase Two, present a picture of the current state of alumni outreach in the academic ARL member libraries and identify areas of potential innovation. This report presents the descriptive results, along with a general discussion.

Ordering Information

Occasional Paper 22: Alumni Outreach by University Libraries
Richard W. Meyer and Mary Jane Mayo
December 2001 • ISBN 0-918006-82-5 • 38pp.
$25 ($18 for ARL members)
Order from ARL Publications