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,
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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