Engaging the student community through work placements – Jessica Henry #open17

Engaging the student community through work placements in the AUT university library makerspace
28,000 students – 89% have to complete work experience placements to finish qualifications. So opportunity to include students – get creative about what skills non-LIS students have that could be helpful.
Projects:
  • Artist in Residence – to facilitate workshops and encourage creativity in makerspace
    Had been volunteering in public libraries running “The Afternoon Academy” for teenagers – was keen on offering “gentle mentorship” to students based on his own experience. Workshops involving staff and students – paper, clay (got clay from construction project on campus). Also making his own artwork as his residency. Enjoyed spending time with people from disparate disciplines. Library was a place he hadn’t spent much time in.
  • Cooperative Education – psychology student, had work experience in observation. Wanted opportunity to apply research skills in real world. Counted space use (3 campus libraries, main one has 5 floors) on the hour every hour. Also looked at instagram profile and social media use – breaking down what makes posts successful as social media takes lots of staff time so want to be more strategic. Enjoyed space and time to work on real-life projects

These things don’t happen quickly. Artist in Residence approved last Sept, was July before he was in place. Some wages got paid for by Student Services but not sure about future. Also took staff time for supervision and coordination. And requires space and materials.

“It’s hard to get people on board with an idea when you don’t have concrete examples of what it’s going to look like!”

But was received well – seen as shifting from the library ‘weighted down’ by collection to be engaging; and great way to gather meaningful data.


Q&A: Makerspace focused on bringing people and ideas together. Bookbinding and sewing through to robotics. Just launched in July but well-attended.

How will data change what you do next year? Will change when and how they post? Students like images they can identify with the uni  – pictures of the space more than pictures of staff or students. Won’t change all posts but helps. Re space will look at study spaces, plus spaces where students are more likely to interact with each other in order to enhance those.

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