The Real Treasure Was in Connecting with our Community
By Carmen Howard
Visiting Asst. Regional Librarian
UIC Library of the Health Sciences at Peoria
A few months ago, I reported that The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Library of the Health Sciences in Peoria was participating in the Peoria Academy of the Sciences Treasure Hunt for 1st through 8th grade students. We were excited to be partnering with the College of Medicine as one of the 21 sites for the treasure hunt and the only health sciences site. I promised to provide an update at the end of the summer and unbelievably that time has already arrived!
We were pleased to have nearly 100 people from the Peoria area visit us at the library. We enjoyed meeting the families and especially the kids. Although most of our visitors came in small family groups, one of the highlights of the summer was a large group visit from day campers at the South Side Mission. These middle school students enjoyed answering the treasure hunt questions about the circulatory system and going on a library tour. The human skeleton was a big hit! Several of our medical students took the time to share information about healthy eating and play their version of Jeopardy! with the kids.
Throughout the summer, we received lots of positive feedback and many expressions of thanks. Some were comments like “this is fun” and “love all your signs” – yes, we did have arrows all over the library. However, some comments suggested greater impact: one adult told us that she was thrilled to find out we were open to the public because she was an allied health sciences student at a local community college.
Although it’s too early to say if we inspired any budding scientists, we certainly feel that we helped to make health science fun! This was a wonderful outreach experience for us and touched on many of the community-oriented goals of the Library of the Health Sciences and the College of Medicine. We are looking forward to next year!