Presentation Title

Greeters Become Greater: Empowering Front Desk Student Employees as Peer Information Literacy Consultants

Location

ELAB 21

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

Students employed at Pollak Library of California State University, Fullerton play many roles. Recognizing the positive impact of peer-to-peer learning, the duties of one such position was retooled, partly in response to the introduction of interactive, automated signage that offered users additional directional help. Importantly, the technology provided an opportunity to integrate information literacy with a peer learning model. By going above and beyond answering directional questions, assistants at this re-envisioned point of contact can now more robustly engage with fellow students seeking help. Indeed, the evolution of the front desk attendant to a “peer consultant” who addresses a wide variety of needs provides more impactful, flexible support in a variety of ways.

First, they are trained to answer basic reference questions, such as known title searches, and direct users to LibGuides and librarian contact information using a triage model. Second, they extend directional support by serving as escorts to various locations. Beyond the desk itself, they serve as ambassadors at orientation events for student groups and provide tours upon request. They also operate the library’s student success lounge, where students relax, study, and participate in outreach events. Perhaps most significantly they have facilitated and taught both drop-in workshops as well as library instruction sessions for first-year experience classes.

Overall, the transformation has improved upon peer-learning experiences within the library, provided new work opportunities for student employees, and has had a positive impact on student success and engagement.

Presentation Description

Librarians at a university library retooled the duties of front desk student employees in order to better integrate information literacy within the framework of peer-to-peer learning. As a result, students with information needs beyond simple directions are provided more in-depth help, inclusive of the front desk, in various contexts with their peers. This includes efforts as outreach ambassadors at orientation events and facilitators of both drop-in library workshops and instruction for students enrolled in first-year experience courses.

Session Objectives

Session attendees will:

Identify ways to develop a robust peer consultant program.

Understand the impact of automated technology on in-person support.

Determine within their own institutional setting the role peer learning can play in supporting student success.

Keywords

student success, information literacy, instruction, peer learning, engagement, student employment

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Feb 21st, 10:00 AM Feb 21st, 11:15 AM

Greeters Become Greater: Empowering Front Desk Student Employees as Peer Information Literacy Consultants

ELAB 21

Students employed at Pollak Library of California State University, Fullerton play many roles. Recognizing the positive impact of peer-to-peer learning, the duties of one such position was retooled, partly in response to the introduction of interactive, automated signage that offered users additional directional help. Importantly, the technology provided an opportunity to integrate information literacy with a peer learning model. By going above and beyond answering directional questions, assistants at this re-envisioned point of contact can now more robustly engage with fellow students seeking help. Indeed, the evolution of the front desk attendant to a “peer consultant” who addresses a wide variety of needs provides more impactful, flexible support in a variety of ways.

First, they are trained to answer basic reference questions, such as known title searches, and direct users to LibGuides and librarian contact information using a triage model. Second, they extend directional support by serving as escorts to various locations. Beyond the desk itself, they serve as ambassadors at orientation events for student groups and provide tours upon request. They also operate the library’s student success lounge, where students relax, study, and participate in outreach events. Perhaps most significantly they have facilitated and taught both drop-in workshops as well as library instruction sessions for first-year experience classes.

Overall, the transformation has improved upon peer-learning experiences within the library, provided new work opportunities for student employees, and has had a positive impact on student success and engagement.