Lawlapalooza is a fun way to increase visibility: students interact with a member of the library staff at every event point from lead-up table events to receiving a game card and redeeming a game card for pizza. Library staff wear name tags and verbally reinforce that the research fair is a library-hosted event.
The starting point is always a library table where students are given a brief overview of the event and a game piece. In early years, this library table also provided general library information. In later years, the start point was simplified to game piece distribution/explanation; we added a separate library table where library staff can devote more time to providing information about the library and establishing or reinforcing awareness that research databases are provided by the library. During the 2013-14 academic year, the library adopted LibAnswers and rolled out its "AskUs" service, offering chat, text, and an online FAQ. At the 2014 research fair, library staff wore specially created 'AskUs' buttons.
Each year, in addition to a library table staffed by individuals from across the library, the Reference Department hosts a table at which reference librarians provide students with information about online research, library research services, and resources related to that year's focus topic. Through 2016, reference librarians delivered PowerPoint presentations. These "InfoBlasts" covered topics such as our new catalog, research guides, and mobile apps. Students could choose which presentation they wanted to view and often took the opportunity to ask specific questions relating to their current research projects. Reference librarians were able to provide on-the-spot assistance to students by identifying vendors to visit during the fair that could be helpful for their studies or for where they may be working during the summer. For various reasons, in 2016, the InfoBlast format was discontinued and replaced by a table staffed by the Reference Department at which librarians answer questions about online research, and provide information on research guides, how to get research assistance from a librarian, and future dates of research sessions.