ARCLIB 2018 Conference report: Working with Library Interns to provide Student Perspective on Library Services

A fascinating and inspiring talk by Karen Crinnion of Newcastle University about an initiative to employ student library interns who were briefed to undertake research into an area of the library service of their own choosing. The library then used the outcomes to inform improvements and enhancements.

The three students recruited came from architecture/planning courses at undergrad and postgrad levels. Their training involved learning about library services and resources for students in their subject area. They were then given free rein to plan their own research project. With hindsight, Karen said that she would probably choose to be more directive in the research area, but it seems to me they got some pretty useful results!

The main findings from the student interns’ research project were :

  • Students had limited awareness of online resources
  • Students were satisfied with the physical bookstock, but lacked awareness of services such as patron driven acquisition, and reservations
  • Students prefer communication by email or social media.

I found the action list Karen shared with us thought-provoking, especially the idea to plan a calendar of promotional activity.

This is a summary of actions that University of Newcastle Library Services are implementing :

  • Contact dissertation supervisors for list of dissertation subjects and buy relevant titles
  • Advertise new acquisitions on the online subject guide
  • Schedule a calendar of promotional blog posts for specific resources
  • Update library info for course handbooks
  • Use short online promotional videos
  • Liaise with academic colleagues to include targeted library info in the School newsletter.


Written by Richenda Gwilt, University of the Arts London


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