Millions of students visit academic libraries each year, hoping to achieve success in the classroom and make progress with their research. Many of these students need help in navigating the complex services, collections, and facilities of a large academic library. Librarians often respond to this need by offering in-person orientation tours. However, with this approach, library personnel are unable to reach all who need assistance. Furthermore, the schedules of busy students and busy librarians do not always coincide, and students may prefer to learn about the library in a more flexible, self-paced fashion. It’s known that in-person tours are a time-consuming and costly way to teach students about the library. If an in-person tour is not feasible, a self-guided tour is often an acceptable alternative for familiarizing students with the library. Many well-established museums have implemented self-guided tours with much success. The time and other resources used to create a self-guided tour yield huge benefits. A self-guided tour can be used many times, with only a one-time developmental cost. Furthermore, a self-guided tour can reach a wide audience at the convenience of all. This paper describes the development and implementation of a self-guided video tour in an academic library. The tour uses a digital, multimedia player and streaming video for content delivery and targets more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students in science, engineering, and nursing at the University of Alabama.

Publication Date

Fall 2009