In an effort to address declining university retention rates and to reach students who may not make it to the library for research help, the Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is in the process developing a peer-mentoring program. This program is one way the library can help the institution in its efforts raise student retention rates and improve student success. Peer learning programs have proven successful in tutoring centers and elsewhere in the university for decades, and research has shown that trained undergraduates are ideal candidates for delivering general reference and information literacy instruction to their peers (Bodemer, 2014). It is the library’s hope that seeding the campus with library ambassadors will help raise the profile of the library and information literacy on campus and at our satellite campuses as well.
ETSU’s Library Ambassador Program entails hiring undergraduates each fall and offering them two semesters of information literacy training with a specific focus on learning the databases within their respective fields. Once training is complete, ambassadors are deployed in the academic buildings of their majors to help students with research and to connect students requiring in-depth help to librarians. As word of the program continues to spread, requests for ambassadors at satellite campuses and at additional main-campus computer labs has grown, and in the Fall of 2018, the library plans to hire 20 additional ambassadors to meet these needs. It is the library’s goal for the Library Ambassador Program to continue to grow each fall until ambassadors are stationed in each computer lab, residence hall, and academic building on and off campus.
Gwyn, Lydia C.. 2018. Thinking Outside the Building: Developing a Library Ambassador Program Across Campus(es). Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation). Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy. https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/gaintlit/2018/2018/75/