Creating Connections: How Libraries Can Use Exhibits to Welcome New Students


Feelings of loneliness are common among first-year college students during the start of the academic year. Academic and social integration into the campus community—both factors that can positively affect student retention—are critical yet difficult for any one group to manage. Grand Valley State University Libraries expanded its reach to help foster student engagement through an immersive, multifaceted exhibit showcasing personal stories of students through illustrations and audio recordings. Participants also had an opportunity to contribute to a mural. The exhibit, which ran for the first six weeks of the fall semester, provided students with novel ways to connect and identify with their peers. We will highlight an innovative approach to cultivating student belonging and detail how an exhibit can strengthen the library’s institutional relevance.


art, creativity, higher education, retention, library programming, outreach, exhibits


Library and Information Science