Saturday, August 31, 2013

Engaging the Disengaged, Indefinitely, and with No Budget: Creating a Sustainable Model for Student Library Ambassadors


Mike Clifford*, Elizabeth Gadd(1), Jenny Coombs(2), Carol Hollier(2), Ginny Franklin(1), Karen
McCormick(1), Paul Maynard(3), Peter Willmot(3), Maurice FitzGerald(4)

*Correspondence to: Mike Clifford, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Nottingham,
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD. E-mail: mike.clifford@nottingham.ac.uk
(1)University Library, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
(2)George Green Library, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD
(3) Wolfson School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University,
Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
(4) Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU

Abstract: University Libraries offer a wide range of services and facilities to help enhance the student learning experience and to aid the transition into learning at University. Often, too few Science and Engineering students fully engage with the services and facilities on offer and therefore do not benefit from the opportunities available to them. Drawing on research highlighting the value of peer support, and the fact that students are far more likely to use their peers as an information source than ‘experts’, Loughborough University Library obtained small project funding in 2010 to employ four Student Ambassadors in a pilot project to improve student engagement with the Library. The successful project demonstrated the potency of the idea in engaging with students, particularly non-users, a large proportion of which are based in the Science and Engineering Faculties.

In the absence of continued funding, the challenge, addressed here, is how to make such posts sustainable. Past experience at both Nottingham and Loughborough Universities has proven how difficult it is to recruit students on a voluntary basis to engage with University Libraries.

In this paper, an innovative and creative method of recruiting and supporting “Learning Resource Leaders” (LRLs) at Nottingham and Loughborough Universities is discussed. The strategies employed have resulted in the recruitment of four LRLs – two at each institution – supported by an industrial sponsor who provides a package of non-monetary incentives. The paper also describes the techniques used by the LRLs to disseminate information about the resources offered by the University Libraries and to engage with the student cohort.

Keywords; student engagement, sustainability, industrial sponsors, library, learning
resources.

4th International Symposium for Engineering Education, 2012, The University of Sheffield, July 2012, UK

Source and Link to Full Text Available At

[http://isee2012.group.shef.ac.uk/docs/papers/paper_23.pdf]


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