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College Shopping at the Library

by on January 11, 2013

When I read the post about how the Louisville (Kentucky) Free Public Library (LFPL) and University of Louisville have started a College Shop at the Shawnee Branch on bizjournals.com’s  blog, I was intrigued by this remarkable program. The College Shop puts into action the idea that we, as public and or academic librarians as well as university representatives, need to help everyone attain their desire to attend college.  Wanting to go to college is only half the battle.  How does someone get in to college?  How does an eighteen year-old pay for college? How does an older adult, with limited computer skills, find information about college-level programs in today’s increasingly paperless world? These questions and more make this program incredibly relevant.

What Is It?
The College Shop is a physical space located at the Shawnee Branch of the LFPL. It offers information and resources for both high school students and adults interested in higher education about getting into college. This includes – but is not limited to offering clinics on how to apply to college and for financial aid.  These clinics are led by area professionals and held monthly. In addition, laptop computers are available at the College Shop for use with electronic forms and searching for financial aid. College applications can be overwhelming to anyone. With so many dynamics to consider, having a guiding star on the sojourn towards higher education simplifies the overwhelming search and more efficiently prepares students for entrance exams. These clinics can save hours for persons who may otherwise blindly muddle through seemingly endless application processes.

Other Program Options
After reading this I began to think about how this program would not only be beneficial for undergraduate admissions, but also for graduate programs and beyond. My library is located within an undergraduate college art school building. This sort of program would be great for students who are about to graduate and are facing the huge “Now what?!?!?” query. It would be incredibly advantageous to have a place to go where students could look into graduate programs, internships, or even jobs available based on their degrees. I envisage a program (based on my particular library location-the Toledo Museum of Art) with involvement by auction houses for internships, museum fellowships, or graduate schools that may have representatives visit and give preliminary interviews.

While I realize that this may fall into the jurisdiction of college students’ advisors, I think a communal place might be a better alternative for this advisory experience. A public library is open to the community and not just students. Most people are more familiar with their public library and may be less apprehensive to enter it than they would a career center they have never been to before.

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