Getting Involved in the Classroom: How Academic Librarians Can Help

Jan 18, 2016 2:00:00 PM / by Lindsay Mullen

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Do you sometimes feel separated from the classroom? You may be a pro at helping students find a resource for their research paper, but you’re not sure how their professor has guided them to complete the assignment—heck, you may not even be sure who the professor is!

If it’s been years since you’ve seen the inside of the classroom, it’s time to get your library and its staff more involved with what professors are doing and teaching. Not only does it foster a more collaborative environment at your campus, but it ensures that you’re providing students with a cohesive system of support to ensure their success as scholars.

How do you get more involved with the classroom? Here are a few ways.

Reach out directly

We’ve previously talked about the benefits to your campus community when you work with professors to collaborate, provide resources and create a curriculum. Today, getting involved in the classroom doesn’t just mean working to ensure students are heading to the library after class: it can mean rethinking entire class structures to benefit you and the professor.

Partner with different professors on campus to create MOOCs (massive open online classes) and continuing education programs to not just provide an alternative to traditional in-class courses, but to help your institution reach a broader swath of the community. Take a cue from the librarians at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, who partnered with faculty to create a MOOC, “Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region.” This course was opened up to students, of course, but it also enrolled over 6,000 outside students from around the region to learn about climate change. If your professors are looking to reach new segments of the community—both on-campus and off—you may consider doing something similar.

Provide outside-the-box help

Sure, it’s great to have a few extra copies of the required reading available for students—but you don’t have to stop there in providing great supplementary resources. Work with professors to create a list of films, books, online resources and projects that would help further students’ understanding of what they’re learning in class. For spring semester’s French elective “Nationhood, Immigration, and the Politics of Identity in France,” for example, you should make sure to have a copy of Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 film La Haine as well as albums by the Marseille rap group IAM on hand.

Supplementary assets can enrich students’ experiences inside the class. Just coordinate with the professor to see what they need—and run a student survey after the semester is over to see which resources were most helpful to them.

Hit ‘em with the stats!

Still not sure how to get more involved with what’s going on inside the classroom? Let your administration and faculty know how important it is that you’re in the conversation. Check out these stats, from “Library Use and Undergraduate Student Outcomes: New Evidence for Students’ Retention and Academic Success” about how greater library involvement can help the entire school. It says:

  • First-year undergraduate students who use the library have a higher GPA for their first semester and higher retention from fall to spring than non-library users

  • Institutional expenditures on academic support, including libraries, have strong positive correlations to student engagement on campus.

  • Students who check out books have higher GPAs at graduation.

Want to learn more reasons why collaboration in the classroom is great for libraries—and what you can do to further it? Check out our new white paper, The Value of the Library on Campus Today, for a further discussion on this subject.

Download Here

Topics: Higher Ed

Lindsay Mullen

Written by Lindsay Mullen

Lindsay Mullen is CEO of Prosper Strategies, working behind the scenes to support the Mango team's world of lovable language learning. A language aficionado herself, Lindsay oversees a team of marketers fluent in public relations, content development and strategy (and they speak some German, French, Spanish and Chinese as well.)

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