Monday, August 19, 2013

“Once a Library Ambassador, Always a Library Ambassador!” Using Peer Mentoring to Integrate the Library into the First-Year Academic Experience and Beyond



Katharin Peter | Social Sciences Data Librarian at the University of Southern California and former Program Coordinator for the USC Libraries Library Ambassadors to the Residence Halls Pilot Program,

Introduction

In contrast to the librarian-as-expert pedagogical model, peer-mentoring provides for a collaborative learning environment where students can be both experts and learners.  For libraries, such initiatives while relatively inexpensive and straightforward to implement, can  have far-reaching outcomes: by empowering student representatives with leadership opportunities, libraries  can encourage a sense of pride and ownership in the students so that they will represent the library to their  peers and be peer mentors not only for the term of their  appointment but on an ongoing basis. This paper will  present the results of one-year pilot peer-mentoring  program at the University of Southern California (USC) in which a cohort of incoming freshmen were appointed to serve as Library Ambassadors to the Residence Halls and tasked with promoting library resources and  services to their peers, serving as first-responders for library-related questions in their residence halls, and independently developing capstone projects designed  to promote the library to other students.

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