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Library Explorers to Help Raise Student Awareness of Drexel Libraries

April 2, 2018

“You have to be an English major to use the library.” 

Libraries staff were puzzled as well as shocked to learn that this impression was sincerely expressed by an engineering student when chatting with a friend.  The problem was clear. Somehow for all our efforts, we are not always getting through to our primary clients! 

This fall, the Libraries gathered feedback on how to address this challenge to better communicate to students what the Libraries is and how it can benefit personal learning. Both students and Libraries staff were interested in exploring ways to address this, and the Libraries leadership agreed to leverage both offers of help and see what happens.

For the students, the Drexel Libraries launched the Library Explorers program to offer students an opportunity to help communicate the Libraries’ tools, services and expertise on campus. Library Explorers are students hired to advise the Libraries through brainstorming, designing and testing ways to engage Drexel students to build effective learning habits. From a competitive pool of over 20 applicants, five diverse students were hired to trial the idea.

The first cohort of Library Explorers are joined by four Libraries staff members, who volunteered to participate in a complementary Expand Your Engagement program. Together, the group of staff and students are focusing this term on two projects to explore how to effectively communicate and promote the Libraries as a dynamic place to explore learning.

Since the group began in March, students and staff have been considering ways to annotate a 3D rendering of the W. W. Hagerty Library, which was created by a colleague in Drexel University Online using a Matterport 3D Camera. Students have studied the W. W. Hagerty Library to identify environments, resources and other information that they want to highlight on the map, which they will recommend to the Libraries. In addition, they shared their own experiences using the Libraries.   Once completed, the 3D map will not only help students identify spaces and resources available in the Drexel Libraries, it will also serve as a tool to assist learners in effectively recognizing and utilizing different informal learning venues.

The Explorers and staff are also thinking up creative ways to communicate the uses and benefits of the newly redesigned Dragons’ Learning Den, the 24/7 space in W. W. Hagerty Library formerly known as The Bookmark Cafe. The space is now home to new furniture and new equipment, like the ThinkHub Monitor and the Practice Zone, that are available to all Drexel students, faculty and staff to use to engage with active social learning.

Stay tuned to learn what emerges from this exciting shared engagement and exploration!

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