Who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!

With a rare formula of energy, time, and motivation, I was assigned a brief orientation for a Humanities class with the focus to introduce students to the library, the catalog, and the databases in about 30 minutes.  So, I wanted to get creative.  I know my content but selling the first minute or two is my usual stumbling point and it also happens to be the small window I get to actually have students get interested or mentally checkout.  Being the pop culture diva I am, I wanted something funny and relatable for my community college students, so nothing too age specific.  In my YouTube search, I started with general library clips but quickly made my way to the iconic Ghostbusters.  Scenes from the original and the more recent NYPL re-enactment quickly got added to the list but the real key, I believe, was knowing how to integrate these effectively.

So this is how the sequence went:

While students enter class, play this in the background to set the tone, get them curious about what is going on in the front of the room, etc.

Next, at the beginning of the class, start playing the first 20 seconds of this video on mute, noting how the library used to be with books, card catalogs, and the scary thought of doing research (timing is key to get the scream/scary research effect)

Next, launch into library intro

  • hours
  • facilities (printing, copying, computers, study rooms)
  • website

Catalog (Bloomsday related examples since it was June 16th)

  • Subject v keyword
  • demo search (Ulysses) – more refined resource lists/name disambiguation from the general and the mythological character
  • Review a record (location, call #, status)
  • Save record–>view saved–>Print/Email/Request/Hold
  • Request/hold individual books
  • ELECTRONIC BOOK EXAMPLE (under keyword results)
    • how to access in library & at home


  • Academic Search Elite
  • SIRS Researcher
  • Boolean operators
  • AND, OR, NOT – human example
  • Full-text, peer-reviewed, date range, source type, etc.
  • Show article
  • Email/print/save functions

Conclude with the note that Reference Librarians are there to help you and not do this…..

The giggles and lots of mid-presentation questions told me that the research and listening to the Ghostbusters’ theme song at least 25 times paid off.  Now, I must channel my 1980s childhood and finally dance like I wanna to the theme song.  Now, if I could just find my slap bracelet and blue Reebok hightops…..

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