Academic Engagement: Hello from Amanda and Jamie

Over the past few years, the University of Michigan Library in Ann Arbor has developed a couple of different models for offering programs to the UM community. Along with these models, we also have a couple of defined spaces, a gallery and event space at our Graduate Library, and a new study lounge and event space at the Undergraduate Library. We work to coordinate a variety of programs for students, faculty, and our larger community. We are interested in sharing our goals and ideas for our academic library programs with other librarians from all kinds of libraries, with the thought that there is some definite overlap and ways we can learn from the larger programming librarian community. We’ll contribute regular blog posts here at Programming Librarian!

So, to take a step back, we thought we’d introduce ourselves! My name is Amanda Peters, and I have worked at UM for twelve years. My current title is University Learning Communities Librarian, but before last year, my title was Coordinator of Instruction and Outreach. And I’m Jamie Vander Broek. I’m the Library’s Exhibits & Programming Librarian, and I’m also part of a team of Learning Librarians. I’ve worked for the library for just under five years. Amanda and I often work together on programming. We serve together on a committee that coordinates the content on the digital screens in our new study lounge space, which serves as both a location and a jumping-off point for collaborative student programs. Additionally, Amanda’s outreach-focused role goes hand in hand with my focus on events and exhibits. Finally, we’re both naturally oriented toward student engagement and the craft programs that often come along with it. If someone ordered glitter at our library, it would probably be us!

A few years ago, we decided to start offering programs in various spaces in our Undergraduate Library with the idea that we could offer enrichment for students outside of their normal coursework. We have offered poetry readings and author talks, study abroad panels and movie nights. Our most popular events have been student musicians and free coffee in our study lounge, craft projects like making tote bags or handmade books, and the students’ favorite thing ever has definitely been bringing therapy dogs in for stress relief during finals. The library also transformed a former staff space in the Graduate Library with a great view of campus into a full-time event and exhibit space, with a goal of creating an intellectual center for the university in the library. That space, which we call the Library Gallery, hosts panel presentations and visiting speakers as well as traveling exhibits and original exhibits based on the library’s collections. Recently, we have been working to increase student interest and involvement in the gallery’s programs and exhibits.

We are looking forward to sharing our experiences with you here on Programming Librarian! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch with us through the links above!