Too Big for the Library

Scaling Down Popular Library Outreach to Ensure Lasting Sustainability in an Academic Environment


  • Terra Rogerson California University of Pennsylvania
  • Monica Ruane Rogers California University of Pennsylvania



outreach, faculty collaboration, college clubs, academic libraries, student engagement


Outreach is necessary to further the visions and missions of many university libraries, including Manderino Library at California University of Pennsylvania. Organizing events has been used to firmly cement the library’s place in the campus community. However, in the library’s efforts to be part of the larger campus, it has collaborated with other academic departments to create and hold large, well-attended events that require a lot of manpower and hours. After analyzing chat, reference, gate counts, and database usage, librarians found that large and successful events do not increase usage for other library services. This article explores whether the cost is equal to the gain for taking on events that eventually leave the library once they become popular. Results seem to indicate the library might better utilize time and efforts to hold small, focused events, even if attendance is low. Since the bump to actual library services is negligible, the library may want to look at other ways to increase funding instead of continuing to seek out collaborations to offset the cost of attractive events for students. Additionally, we found that while the relationships librarians forge with fellow academic departments are extremely valuable, larger events and collaborations generally relegate librarians to organizer roles that do little for the library’s bottom line.  

Author Biographies

Terra Rogerson, California University of Pennsylvania

Instructor, Duquesne University; Online Librarian, American Public University 

Monica Ruane Rogers, California University of Pennsylvania

Assessment and Outreach Librarian, Assistant Librarian, California University of Pennsylvania