by Amy Waldman
I joined the CJC-listserv not long after starting library school in 2008. At that point, I’d been running the Displaced Homemaker Program at Milwaukee Area Technical College for five years. Student Services didn’t have a lot of interaction with the library, so the listserv gave me a window into some of what might be happening over there.
Early on in my MLIS program, I knew that getting some work experience in a library while in school would be invaluable. I also knew that there was no chance that would happen– I had a full-time job already and graduate school was like having another full-time job.
Something else did happen, though.
As a Student Services professional, I knew a lot about our students and their needs. As I learned more about what the library had to offer, I was able engage and collaborate in ways that would never have happened had I not had a foot in both worlds.
So, from a Student Services perspective, here are a couple of things that happened because I went to Library School that might be of use to some of you.
- In 2010, the Displaced Homemaker Program teamed up with a community organization to host a morning-long conference on accessing mental health services in the area. The library prepared a display and created a bibliography that was handed out in the conference materials.
- When author Shauna Singh Baldwin spoke about her book “The Selector of Souls,” at a college community event in 2012, the library prepared a bibliography of resources on intimate partner violence.
- Energy Assistance Sign-up
- Many of our students are low-income and qualify for energy assistance, but the only way they were able to access the program was to stand in long lines at a local agency, thereby missing classes. If they didn’t sign up and were unable to pay their electric bills, their power was shut off in mid-April, just as they were gearing up for final projects and exams. In conjunction with the library and our Office of Student Life, I arranged for the agency to come to MATC and see students by appointment at the three of our four campuses within its service area. The library co-sponsored and hosted. More than 200 students (many who had never set foot in the library before) signed up for appointments. The event has continued on an annual basis and is now hosted by the library.
3. The Affordable Health Care Act
One morning, while meeting with one of our program counselors about a student, an adviser walked in and handed him a sheet of paper. It turned out that large numbers of students were asking for information about the Affordable Care Act. I got back to my office and called our library manager.
“Do you have a LibGuide about the Affordable Care Act?”
“No,” he said. “But that’s a really good idea.”
When it was complete, Counseling and Advising was notified. The department now provides students with a link to our library’s LibGuide.
These are just a couple of examples of successful collaborations between Student Services and the library. Please share yours!