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Asynchronous Online Learning Materials: Best Practices

This guide is for librarians and library staff that create asynchronous online learning materials, primarily videos tutorials.

Library Introduction Video (less than 3 minutes)

An introduction to a library can take many different forms but ultimately serves the goal of helping orient users to specific features, facilities, or services that your library offers. For specialty libraries the video could take the form of outlining what makes your library different from others and how that reflects in your services. Others might use introduction videos as a form of outreach that can highlight services that might not be as well known to the greater community. These videos are giving users a quick snapshot to help them find their way to that they need (and maybe what they didn’t know they needed) at your library.

Remember, even though there are countless things you could feature about your library, you only have three minutes to give them the information. So choose one or two things to focus on. You can always make another video or series of videos that focus on other facets of your library. The key is that each video is concise, engaging, and informative.

Here is a sample outline with questions to consider when drafting your script:

  • Introduction (max 30 seconds) 
    • Welcome viewer to your specific library. 
    • Thesis statement of what is in store for them in the video. 
  • About the Library (max 1-2 minutes) 
    • Why is your library different from all other libraries?  
    • What are things that users can find in your library or on your website that they can’t find anywhere else? 
    • What services does your library provide? 
    • What can you tell users about your staff? 
    • Who are your main constituents? 
    • Are there any restrictions about using your materials? 
    • Where is your library? 
    • What should users know about your website? 
    • Libguides? Search features? Hours and events? 
  • Contact us (max 30 seconds) 
    • Reminder of all the ways they can contact you. 
    • Library hours.  

Sample Script (run length: 2 minutes)

Welcome to Special Collections and University Archives. Special Collections and University Archives is here to preserve, store, and provide access to Vanderbilt University's impressive collection of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, and institutional archives.

Located on the second floor of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library, we encourage the serious researcher and curious book lover alike to come and view our unique and rare items. Our gallery regularly rotates exhibits that shine a spotlight on the fascinating materials found in our collections.

Unlike other reading rooms in the library, ours is only available for those viewing materials from our collections. We also have some extra rules in place to ensure the continued safety and security of our materials.

For more information about how to plan your visit, go to our website and be sure to check out our Library Policies to see what is and is not allowed in our reading room. Also on the website you can find tips for how to start your research, how to access our materials, and see the strengths of our collections. In addition providing access for individual visitors, Special Collections and University Archives staff are also here for teaching and learning support.

Our curators offer a wide array of instructional options, from teaching students how to use primary resources to more directed sessions about topics such as history of the book and university history. We are excited to work with interested Vanderbilt faculty and local teachers who would like to include a visit to Special Collections in their semester.

Everyone at Special Collections and University Archives is always ready to help you dive into our collections. Contact us directly or if you’re not sure who to talk to, you can always email us at specialcollections@vanderbilt.edu. We look forward to helping you explore our collections.

Sample Library Introduction Video: Special Collections and University Archives, Rachel Lavenda