Thursday, July 17, 2008

Information Services Outreach to Indiana Academy Parents

Sending a child to college is never easy for a parent, but imagine sending your high school student away from home to finish their junior and senior years. That is what about 150 parents did earlier this year.

They chose to send their students to a residential campus, The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities located in Muncie, Indiana.

Recently, Information Services librarians Brenda Yates Habich, Stacy Chaney-Blankenship, and Lisa Jarrell partnered with the Academy in a new outreach program and they became involved with the Academy’s new student orientation. The librarians talked informally with parents during the orientation process and offered information about what to do should their student call home unsure about where to go for research help.

A 2006 survey about college parent experiences found that 74% of parents continued to communicate with their son or daughter two to three times a week once they left for college, and that the parents’ primary concern was their child’s academic success. This survey can be viewed at

Taking information from this report into consideration, our librarians decided to create a program in order to reach out to parents of the Academy’s incoming students. The goal was to inform parents and students that the University Libraries’ programs, services, and rich collections can help support the needs of the students since Academy students are considered members of the Ball State University community.

The Academy students have the same access to the University Libraries as any Ball State undergraduate, and they use the University Libraries as their primary library while enrolled at the Academy. Many of the students have never experienced using an academic library before coming to the Academy.

The outreach activities are designed to help familiarize the students with the library and help them to feel more comfortable using our programs, services, and collections.

The parents’ initial reaction was extremely positive. They were receptive to the outreach, to our brochures and conversations about resources, and about help for the students and contact information.

One parent said, “This is wonderful! Now I can just send them to you and you’ll help them.” Another responded, “This is so helpful. Thank you for taking time to be here.”

Future plans include a more in-depth session in mid-August with incoming juniors to explain how to use the library for their classes and to provide contact information for these new students.

For more information, contact Brenda Yates Habich,, 765-285-1101, or Stacy B. Chaney-Blankenship,, 765-285-3325.


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