The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point University Library hosted its fourth annual Hootenanny, featuring bluegrass music, services offered by the library and university and promotions from local businesses on Friday, September 14, 2012.
The lobby was filled with the scent of pizza, carnival-like games, and the sounds of a live bluegrass band playing to a crowd of students and community members alike. The traditional quiet-study area was no place to open a book with so many things offering a distraction to those who walked through the front doors.
The motive behind holding the Hootenanny in the library is to show students that the library welcomes them to use it and to show them that it can be an exciting place to learn. Andy Pech, the Circulation and Outreach Librarian, believes that the Hootenanny will encourage students to come back and use the library’s resources.
"In the last few years, libraries tended to have a decline in traditional uses because the use of technology has changed so much. A survey taken by
students showed that they were scared or intimidated to come to the library on a regular basis," Pech said.
Pech believes that the Hootenanny will ease the tension that some students feel towards using the library. Booths offering games and food from groups on campus lined the walls of the main lobby. The goal of the booths was to allow UWSP students to have a good time rather than throw more information at them.
"The Hootenanny allows us to present the library in a new way that isn’t restricted to a traditional tour or workshop," Pech said.
Highlights included free Point Root Beer and Polito’s pizza, a photo booth, fortunetelling, a putting green, Chinese bookmarks, and many other promotions from around the campus and community. The Academic Advising Office even set up a dartboard where students attempted to pop a balloon that contained a slip of paper that told them what their true major should be.
"This event is a good opportunity for us to get out of the office for a few hours and actually connect with the students and show them what we are all about," said Kami Weis of the Academic Advising Office.
And what hootenanny would be complete without bluegrass or folk music? Art Stevenson & High Water as well as Horseshoes & Hand Grenades were invited to play throughout the afternoon in the middle of the main lobby.
During the performances, some students were even seen dancing to the bluegrass music. Krista Kamke, a Community Advisor in Smith Hall and a frequent user of the library, was one of them.
"This is my third year attending a Hootenanny here, and each year it has gotten bigger. It’s nice to see that they showcase the different resources they offer," Kamke said.
"The turnout is usually 600-1000 people throughout the day. We really just want them to come to the library, come in early in the year, and hope that they continue to come back the rest of the year," Pech said.
The event was free to both UWSP and the community thanks to the support from campus administration and sponsorships from various local businesses.