Tips From the Pros: Selfie as Motivator, Community Builder

Students are often more comfortable doing course-related research online than in a library. Online research is convenient, and they're used to it. But it's not always the most reliable. One way to motivate students to do at least some of their work in physical libraries is to have students take photos of themselves (selfies) as they search the stacks.

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Students are often more comfortable doing course-related research online than in a library. Online research is convenient, and they're used to it. But it's not always the most reliable. One way to motivate students to do at least some of their work in physical libraries is to have students take photos of themselves (selfies) as they search the stacks.

It may seem a little silly, but as Valerie Powell, assistant professor of art at Sam Houston State University, points out, people, particularly young people, like to take selfies. So she has her students take and post selfies to the course Facebook page of them in the library with a book related to their research about a contemporary artist.

“Within an hour they've taken eight or nine selfies all over the library with different books, commenting about each other's [photos], and they think it's the funniest thing in the world. It ends up being really helpful. I have proof that they've been to the library, that they're going to take out a certain book, and have found two or three other relevant books,” Powell says.