The Engagement Initiatives: The art of getting to know you theme focus for the 2016 ShareCase provided an opportunity to explore library initiatives and projects designed to engage with students’, staff and community. In her opening address, the UWA University Librarian, Jill Benn reminded us that 2016 marks the 10 year anniversary of ShareCase; so it was also fitting to consider the benefits it has bought to the fostering of engagement amongst West Australian University Libraries.
Following is a summary of the three theme areas from the day and links to the theme Padlets – which provide copies of the presentations, discussion points and further information and contact links. Even those that couldn’t attend will be able to get a flavour of the day and further information on any of the great range of library initiatives introduced.
You can also go to the WAGUL Event page for the full program summary and Padlet Links.
Padlet A: A very interesting and interactive discussion took place across all three initiatives within this student experience break-out session. The Edith Cowan University Creative Connections presenters were first up and, while a number of initiatives had been presented, the focus was on the DeStress Fest that had been active in the exam weeks. Discussion was around the events that had taken place, such as the stress relieving activities, and the creation of a LibGuide, along with budget considerations. Next up were the Therapy Dogs in the Library, as presented by Murdoch University. Session attendees discussed how this program is managed, how the dogs are chosen, if dogs are indeed the best option and interestingly that different dogs attract different groups of students. Everyone agreed that Muppet was such a cutie and it wasn’t surprising that she was very popular with female students. Finally the Peer to Peer Support for Students initiative, presented by Curtin University promoted much discussion, evident that it is a potential initiative under consideration in a number of the libraries as many of the Faculties/Schools now run similar programs. Primary discussions were on budgets, were the students paid, feedback which was very positive and the implications of potential budget cuts in the future. All agreed it was a great work entry opportunity for students.
Padlet B: With student experience being a key focus in the academic library setting there was a lot of interest in the UWA Please Assist Me (PAM) service. Participants were very interested in how PAM was implemented and monitored and how the students were using the service. The service has received very positive feedback from students who like the convenience of contacting their library for support via SMS, especially during exam periods or when they do not want to leave their study space. The group discussed the importance of marketing and promotion to library messaging services as some libraries had implemented similar services in the past that had not been as successful due to lack of ongoing promotion. Many libraries were keen to begin trialling a similar system and are keen to contact UWA for more ideas for implementation. Notre Dame’s use of LibWizard to create interactive tutorials was a very popular topic. Having used the LibGuides system participants were curious to know how easy building content in LibWizard was and the costs for the product. Notre Dame confirmed that like other SpringShare products LibWizard was easy to use and doesn’t require any graphic design/instructional designer skills and it integrates with BlackBoard LMS. Notre Dame’s first LibWizard prototype on Evidence Based Searching has received positive feedback from the faculty who have trialled it and the tutorial will be available for students early next year and library staff will monitor their feedback.
Research and Teaching Breakouts
Padlet A: The Research breakout sessions explored how academic libraries can best provide support to researchers and the role of the library in promoting a contemporary research culture. Faculty Librarians from Curtin shared their experience of conducting focus groups with postgraduates, and participants in the breakout session were keen to hear about their findings. The findings revealed some common themes across institutions, such as researchers preferring face-to-face workshops, and the demand for advanced Endnote training. The group discussed the various ways that different institutions provide support to researchers, and this issue was also explored in the session relating to Notre Dame’s presentation on Refocusing the Lens (Engaging Researchers). Participants were interested to hear more about the Vitae Researcher Development Framework used by Notre Dame, and Jackie Stevens has shared documentation relating to this on this Padlet. Participants discussed and agreed upon the need to include supervisors when we plan our support to research students, and the group also talked about the increasing demand to assist researchers with systematic reviews and the need to clearly establish our role in this regard. In the research breakout session around ECUs presentation participants were interested to learn more about the Breathing Space Gallery and the proposed Curiosity Studio at ECU Mt Lawley Campus. The group discussed the role of the library in providing space to showcase the work of staff and students, and in supplying a setting and access to technology to enable students, researchers and academics to collaborate, learn and create.
Padlet B: There was very strong interest in Murdoch Universities Free to Share initiative and the interest and take up by teaching faculty staff at Murdoch in particular. Heather Teymant provided a good overview of the objectives of the initiative and their approach to developing a catalogue of select open access resources. One of the most successful elements of the program was the development of awareness through the Free to Share promotional posters and discussions this generated with Faculties. There was also a lot of interest, in the breakout, in the UWA Carpe Diem program and how this has translated into an opportunity for the library to work collaboratively with Unit Coordinators to embed information literacy skills development and connect them with library services that can support their teaching. Participants agreed it would be beneficial for HE Libraries to be involved across a program as a whole to help build in and develop research skills sequentially.
Padlet A: The Community Outreach breakout sessions examined the impact that both the academic libraries and the State Library can have on their broader communities and the ways in which we all reach out to our clients, even when they’re outside of the traditional populations we serve. The Notre Dame presentation, The Long Tail, focused on the reduction of the number of legal resources that are available to the general public following the closure of the Supreme Court Library and the impact that has had on unrepresented litigants – people that choose to represent themselves in court. The group discussed whether academic libraries have an obligation to these people to provide services and resources, despite the fact that they are not affiliated with our institutions. Notre Dame has developed a LibGuide for this population which guides them toward free and authoritative sources – which led to a discussion of our role as “information professionals” and the increasing impact of fake news. The group also discussed the importance of print collections to the public at a time when many universities are moving to downsize collections in favour of online resources.
In the discussion of the Living Libraries initiative, presented by Murdoch, the group talked about the complexities of managing such a sensitive and personalised event. Everyone was interested to hear more about how Murdoch safeguarded the well-being of their “books” (which involved, amongst other things the creation of ‘borrowing rules’), as well as how they dealt with conflict. Representatives from all WAGUL libraries commented on how this approach was a great way to connect people and indicated enthusiasm for running similar events at their own institutions. Many people were interested in hearing more about the SLWA’s “Ideas Box” initiative, from how the community was selected, to how the box was received, to what was next for the Box. People were surprised at the complexity of organising such a project, beyond that which would have been expected; such as the need to organise the delivery around the wet season; to ensure content was appropriate and engaging, and issues with allowing borrowing. This session was less of a discussion and more of an interview of SLWA representative Tui Raven, but it was highly enjoyed by all.
Padlet B: The first discussion focused on UWA’s presentation ‘Developing an Engagement Framework: a bank of words that work’. This presentation was well received by all participants in the breakout session. The discussion focused on different ideas on how to implement an engagement framework in other universities in WA. UWA was praised by participants for having an engagement framework to ensure that core library messages are communicated with library client groups, including students, faculty members and the university community. A good example of the success of this framework in terms of student consultation was the refurbishment of the Reid Library. Alissa Sputore, the presenter, shared the Engagement Framework document with all participants in this discussion. The second discussion focused on Curtin University’s presentation ‘Let’s talk about Social Medial and Academic Libraries’. This discussion provided a great opportunity for all participants to share their experiences with social media both personally and in the context of academic libraries. In this session we discussed how to keep the audience in mind when selecting the right platform to communicate with students. It was recommended by the presenters to also consider the frequency to be used in different platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All participants agreed that social media should be used for relevant information and not for broad topics.