Draw! Using art for student and faculty engagement


Mickel Paris: 0000-0002-5908-382X

Document Type


Conference Title

Medical Library Association


Seattle, WA

Conference Dates

May 26-31, 2017

Date of Presentation



Introduction: The Health Sciences Library hosted an art event with the goals of increasing engagement and improving library programming. Faculty, students and staff were solicited to submit artwork incorporating topics related to the pharmacy sciences. The event, PharmArt, sought to stimulate discussion among artists and participants. The exhibit also provided pharmacy students an opportunity to interact with students in other Health Sciences disciplines and exchange cross-curricular ideas in a neutral space.Previous events have shown poor attendance, even with prizes and social media marketing. The resulting lack of engagement hindered many goals of library events, which generated the research to create PharmArt. The objective of PharmArt was to increase student and faculty engagement with Health Sciences Library programming. The rationale for its creation was to increase participation in library programs that encourage and support students. The purpose was to provide students, faculty, and staff with new opportunities to improve creative skills, increase awareness of library programming, and allow for greater collaboration between pharmacy faculty and library staff.

Methods: A call for art submissions went out through social media accounts and print advertising displayed across campus for the PharmArt exhibit. Artists submitted information about their works through a Google submission form. Art pieces were displayed with a small card describing the art work’s details. Raffle tickets were given to PharmArt exhibit attendees for a door prize and also used as voting ballot for favorite art piece. The day of the exhibit, prizes were awarded and ribbons placed. Event metrics for exhibit attendance and social media engagement were compared to the same metrics taken during the “Better Hearing and Speech” event in May 2015.

Results: Library program attendance for the PharmArt event compared against the Better Hearing & Speech event showed an overall increase of 347%. A total of 11 works of art were submitted with 44% submitted by faculty, 36% by students, and 18% by staff. Social media engagement with the library showed an increase in all metrics between the PharmArt and Better Hearing & Speech events including Blogger post hits, Facebook page shares/reactions, Facebook cumulative reach, and Facebook click-throughs.

Conclusions: Incorporating student, staff, and faculty art works into a library-hosted event significantly increased participation in a library program. Faculty, librarians and students came together and shared a common creative interest. The event increased student attendance for library programming, and increased the library’s social media presence.

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