A quadruple collaboration: students, librarians, academics and industry creating a peer to peer support initiative

Coombs, Jenny and Hollier, Carol (2014) A quadruple collaboration: students, librarians, academics and industry creating a peer to peer support initiative. In: LILAC (Librarian’s Information Literacy Annual Conference) 2014, 23rd-25th April 2014, Sheffield Hallam University.

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For the past two years, the University of Nottingham has run a scheme in which science and engineering students have been acting as student ambassadors (Learning Resource Leaders) to engage their peers on library issues. The project was based upon the premise that science and engineering students make less use of their library resources than other disciplines, and began with an HE STEM funded project run jointly with Loughborough University, to find a sustainable (non-pay) model for motivating science and engineering students to act as change agents in the library. The project included library staff from both institutions as well as an academic member of staff from an appropriate discipline. The model also identified a corporate sponsor to provide three tiers of incentives for the Learning Resource Leaders (LRLs) to achieve and both institutions "hired" two LRLs for the academic year 2011/12.

For 2012/13 academic year, Nottingham ran the scheme on its own and four students were recruited and asked to concentrate on promoting the library. They designed a survey and each LRL identified a service or facility to promote, which was showcased on a t-shirt of their own design. They also held various stands where they asked students to fill out a survey, developed to provide a dual role of obtaining student feedback on library services, but also promoting library facilities that were were felt to be used less often or not fully understood. The industry incentive scheme was continued, but students were also enrolled in the university's employability award, which required students to undertake a range of training opportunities and to produce reflective work on their experiences.


The project enabled a four-way collaboration with the key successes including:

Collaboration with peers -- The stands proved an effective way of engaging with peers to promote library services and facilities.

Collaboration with library staff -- Through the training provided by library staff, the students became more knowledgeable about the library services, and the challenges faced when providing certain services. They also understood the importance of more advanced literature searching.

Collaboration with academic staff -- Having an academic member of staff on board added credence to the scheme and allowed the opportunity for both students and the library to work with faculty in designing activities.

Collaboration with industry -- Having the sponsorship of a key corporate sponsor allowed the library to provide an insight to industry on modern library services and the resources used by students. It also provided the opportunity for the students to meet industry professionals and join in a training day and enhance their CVs.


The scheme was not without its challenges, notably the time requirement for library staff involved in running the scheme, and the difficulties of timetabling meetings, events and training with the student ambassadors.

Keywords:peer to peer support, student library ambassadors, student engagement, industrial sponsors, library
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P121 Library studies
Divisions:Professional services > The Library
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ID Code:16786
Deposited On:27 Feb 2015 08:56

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