Outreach and Instruction in the 'Secret City'.

Author:Ruth, Kelly Durkin

The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) serves the United States by applying scientific excellence to solve national security challenges. The LANL Research Library furthers the laboratory's mission by providing essential knowledge services that support the research life cycle and by providing a suite of tools and services that promote collaborative science.

In 2016, the library's strategic planning efforts identified outreach services as a focus area for supporting several concurrent initiatives going forward. One of the challenges in delivering an outreach and instruction program at the laboratory is its own legacy of secrecy and its partitioned (closed vs. open) environment. This paper summarizes the planning and implementation phases of the library's outreach and instruction program.

Program Background

The library has supported the scientific research community at the laboratory since the early days of the Manhattan Project and has been a leader in shaping the discourse in scholarly communications and information science. From 2008 to 2013, the library's in-house search tool, OPPIE (named in honor of the laboratory's founding director, J. Robert Oppenheimer), hosted locally loaded digital content that was discoverable through a Google-type search interface using the library's repository, which supported both internal and external customers. When the library decided to retire OPPIE and adopt a commercially available abstracting and indexing database (Web of Science) as its platform for full-text searching, a move to a more distributed subject-based instruction and outreach approach began to gain momentum.

During this time, the laboratory began running retirement projections for its research staff and estimated that upwards of one-third of the total fulltime equivalent (FTE) workload of the laboratory would be retiring within the coming decade. In 2016, the laboratory announced plans to hire more than 5,000 new staff through revamped recruitment strategies and through a student-to-staff pipeline and robust post-doctoral program. With the availability of new search tools and services and the shifting demographics of the laboratory's workforce, the need for a change in approach to outreach and instruction became apparent. Planning and Implementation

An initial brainstorming session was held to discuss outreach goals, identify our core target audience, and determine the content we wanted to highlight in our outreach. The brainstorming...

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