Students Advise Libraries and Gain Information Literacy Skills through Library Explorers Program
March 6, 2019
In January, the Drexel Libraries appointed its second cohort of Library Explorers, a group of students who advise the Libraries by brainstorming, designing and testing ways to engage Drexel students to build effective learning habits.
This year’s cohort consists of five Drexel students who were recruited for the program because of their eagerness to engage with the Libraries.
“Three of our 2019 Explorers have been working in the Libraries as student workers. They’re go-getters who are already outspoken advocates for what we’re doing,” said Oreste Jimenez, Program Manager for the Library Explorers. “We also recruited two students who were not already working in the Libraries, and they’re bringing a totally fresh perspective to the program. Overall the group is really diverse—they come from different backgrounds, and they are each pursuing different academic majors here at Drexel.”
The program is currently voluntary, and the Libraries hopes to eventually train all student workers to be Library Explorers.
“We’re reimagining our library student workers as colleagues in information services,” explained John Wiggins, the Libraries’ Director for Services and Quality Improvement. “We’re engaging these students to use their strong sense of what matters to them and to their peers, while simultaneously helping them improve their information-seeking skills. We want to expand our student workers’ knowledge of information discovery and access and enable them to guide peers in strengthening web literacy and fact checking.”
So far, the Library Explorers have met with Libraries staff one-on-one and in groups to plot a path forward. Libraries staff have also helped organize peer-to-peer meetings for the students so they can talk and brainstorm freely together.
The Explorers are currently focusing on projects to improve the Libraries’ physical environments. Ideas have ranged from painting a mural on an empty wall in the W. W. Hagerty Library to creating a service desk on the second floor with roving assistants who move around the Library. Renovating the group study rooms to incorporate glass walls that bring in more natural light and cut down on graffiti is another idea.
“I think that we can learn from them, and they can learn from us,” said Katherine Fischer, the Libraries’ Manager for Access Experiences. “The students have so many ideas about how to improve the Libraries, especially library environments across all campuses, and we’re excited to see what they come up with and how we can work together to inspire future students to work in the Libraries.”