Student Engagement at the University of Waterloo Library: written by Megan Thomas

woman standing in library

Hi Everyone, my name is Megan! I am in my 4B term of Biomedical Science and I am one of the Senior Library Ambassadors. This is my third term as a Library Ambassador and sadly my last as I will be graduating in April. I have had such a fulfilling experience working at the Library and am sad to leave it behind. I initially wanted to be a Library Ambassador because I wanted to get more involved on campus and it seemed like a fun and flexible part-time job. When I first joined the team, I did not realize how much this opportunity would maximize my potential and allow for growth. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the team because I am able to build my customer service skills as well as my verbal and written communication. It is an invaluable experience to work alongside supportive staff who assist my personal development.

five people standing with goose

In this post I will be profiling one of my favorite Library services –Student Engagement! At the University of Waterloo, the Library has a Student Engagement Committee who is involved in helping address various needs and concerns in order to enhance student experience. Members of this committee include library staff, librarians, students across a large range of academic backgrounds and two student engagement co-chairs. One of these co-chairs is Mary Lynne Bartlett who is also the Student Engagement Coordinator. She is the one who designed the Library Ambassador program which she has been running ever since 2016.  This program is one of the main ways the Library engages with students by gaining feedback and facilitating activities.

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The student engagement initiatives at the Library are very impactful for all students as there is a large abundance of resources offered for students but unfortunately they aren’t all taken advantage of. It is part of our job as Library Ambassadors to shed light on these resources so more students can benefit from them. For example, the Geospatial Centre, Special Collections & Archives, Writing and Communication Centre and Circulation Services all have different services offered, that range from assignment help to finding the right academic resources. It is through outreach events run by Mary Lynne and the Ambassadors that more students are aware of the help that is offered to them. Through user feedback sessions, Ambassadors are able to collect information from the student body which gets relayed to the Student Engagement Committee who works to improve the student experience.

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The Library Ambassadors team provide information and support to students at various Library events. We conduct outreach initiatives such as running informational booths, Instagram takeovers and writing blog posts like this one to give insight to students about services offered by the Library. Each term, Library Ambassadors have the responsibility of planning and executing a project that focuses on student engagement. Some previous events include self-care kits, Harry Potter themed escape room and a planting event with the focus of environmental initiatives that are supported by the Library. This year as a Senior Library Ambassador, I have the opportunity to coordinate the Love and Learn Service Fair that took place on February 13th. At this event, students were able to get information and ask questions to a variety of cross Campus services such as the Student Success Office and the Centre for Career Action while enjoying sweet treats.

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It wasn’t until I started working as an Ambassador that I learned about all the initiatives the Library is involved in to engage and educate students. I would highly recommend getting involved with student engagement at the Library either through the Student Engagement Committee or by joining the Library Ambassador program. Keep an eye out for future hiring opportunities. To stay in the loop, follow the library’s Instagram @uwlibrary for updates on what events are happening each week to maximize your learning through the Library!