By Kim Pittman, Kathryn A. Martin Library, University of Minnesota Duluth

I attended three excellent sessions at ARLD Day on qualitative methods for assessment, connecting with students in online courses, and partnering with students for campus outreach efforts. In the third session, “One Thing Leads to Another: Fostering an Open Library with Student Partners,” Heather Tompkins, Susan Hoang, and Kristin Partlo from Carleton College co-presented with student employees who assist them with digital humanities, campus outreach, and reference and instruction. The librarians explained that partnering with student employees can help to fill the void when your staffing infrastructure hasn’t caught up with your library’s level of energy and inspiration. Additionally, student partnerships can help the library break down barriers that have developed as a result of negative library stereotypes. Student projects have also helped make the inner workings of their library more transparent.

The student presenters spoke about what they have learned from their work with the library and described the projects they had completed. The Digital Humanities Associate, Kaylin Land, had helped created an undergraduate research journal, which gave her the opportunity to learn more about copyright, fair use, and citation methods. The Outreach Student Worker, Alice Cohen, had participated in many interesting projects, from creating posters and advertisements to hosting an event in which students were invited to create a comic book version of the library. This particular student position evolved over time: initially Alice was given ideas to implement, but eventually she developed a more collaborative relationship with the library’s outreach committee. Finally, the Reference and Instruction student interns (Edward Malnar and Carrie Hanson) spoke about their experiences creating tutorials and assisting with the library’s instruction program. Overall, this session was dynamic and inspiring. I was excited to see the breadth of work completed by students, and to hear about how embracing student perspectives and contributions enhanced the library’s presence on campus. Slides for the session can be found at http://tinyurl.com/arldstudentworkers.