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Fostering Innovation from the Greatest Minds at Your University

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What’s one of the best things about being an academic librarian? Aside from the access to books from the AAP Textbook of Pediatric Care to Zeitoun, your greatest asset at your library is your close proximity to a lot of really, really smart people. With such a high concentration of PhDs per square foot, you’ve got an amazing opportunity to promote and partner with your university’s staff, faculty and students. But how?

If there’s one thing we love at Mango (besides tropical fruit and brushing up on our Farsi) it’s bringing together librarians with their communities. Here are some ideas to get the greatest minds on campus—from the 102-year-old history professor emeritus to the wunderkind biology adjunct—involved with your library.

Course collaboration

Good relations between faculty and librarians are a necessity. Make sure you’re meeting frequently with professors and department deans to align your resources with what they’re teaching. If they’re looking for a few resources to help students with their Chinese art history finals, work with them to pick out the top ten books on the subject and place them on reserve. Maybe they’re looking for a way to get their Introduction to Italian class practicing parlando come se fossero da Roma (speaking like they’re from Rome)—point them toward Mango and we’ll help them get their vocabulary in order.

Celebrate faculty accomplishments

When they’re not inspiring the youth of the nation to revolution (or at least a sit-in at the campus cafeteria), professors are hard at work doing their own research and publishing brilliant works of their own. Recognize your institution’s professors and let students know more about their scholarship by putting together a special exhibit of their writings throughout the years. If any professors are interviewed on radio or television, be sure to share the links on your social media.

Come together around common goals

You and your institution’s professors may not always see eye-to-eye, but you share a common goal in that you all strive to help students grow as scholars. A key component to making this goal a reality is to ensure they can research, write and cite sources like pros—in other words, all students have the information literacy skills needed to write an A+ thesis or graduate dissertation.

At Kenyon College, professor Ellen Stoltzfus and librarian Jasmine Vaughan worked together to create a tutorial designed to teach psychology students literacy skills and guide them through the process of conducting great research. At Oberlin, librarians held workshops for faculty on how to identify and prevent student plagiarism, helping professors assess and guide student work more effectively. Together, librarians and professors were able to work off each other’s strengths to make meaningful progress towards increasing student information literacy.

Let us know: how are you working with your professors on campus? If you’re thinking about collaborating with them in more ways than the ones we’ve listed above, check out our checklist of the 9 Innovations Shaping Today’s Academic Library, and just imagine the fun you could have collaborating with the urban architecture course in designing a new study space.

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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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