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Library Champions: Advice and guidance for Library Champions

This guide provides an overview of the Library Champions scheme and includes support materials for current Library Champions.

Library Champions scheme

As a Library Champion your role is to represent the students in your subject and communicate ideas and suggestions to the Library. You will have access to a budget that you can spend and you are encouraged to promote your role within your subject area and make purchases on behalf of the students on your course.

You will have a key contact in the Library who will be able to give you advice and support and answer any questions that you may have.

  • Exeter Library Champions, your key contacts in the Library are Nicola Nye & Sarah Jones. Both Nicola & Sarah are part of the Liaison Librarian team responsible for supporting students whilst they are studying at the University. Contact Nicola or Sarah is by emailing libraryhelp@exeter.ac.uk
  • Cornwall Library Champions, your key contact in the Library is Rachel Browning.  Rachel is a Liaison Librarian who is part of a team responsible for supporting students whilst they are studying at the University. Contact Rachel by emailing rachel.browning@fxplus.ac.uk

This is a voluntary role, which we estimate will take up to 10 hours of your time over the academic year. This will vary depending on how much you can, or want to contribute. You can count your time spent as a Library Champion towards the volunteering element of the Exeter Award. 

Please note: we will be using your Exeter email address to contact you about Library Champions matters. 

Advice for getting started

  1. Join the Library Champions Facebook group . This is a closed group for Library Champions to discuss and support each other in carrying out their role. Library staff will contact you through this group for feedback to help inform decision making.
  2. Attend a role induction meeting. We will contact you to invite you to an induction meeting where we can talk through the role in more detail and answer any questions you may have. 
  3. Promote yourself and your role across your subject and department. Raise awareness of your role on platforms such as ELE and Social Media and encourage students to talk to you with feedback about the Library or with details of  the Library resources that they need. Try putting up posters promoting you and your role on departmental notice boards, or speak to academic staff in your department to see if you can talk to students at the end of lectures.
  4. Talk to students in your subject. Find out if they require any extra copies of books, e-versions, or any additional texts for their course.
  5. Start spending the Library Champions budget! See information on purchasing resources for more information on how to place orders.
  6. Ask questions! If you need any advice, contact the Library Liaison Team who will be happy to help.

In 2017/2018 Library Champions carried out the following activities:

Marketing and communications

  • Writing blog posts and communications to promote the learning resources available in their subject area
  • Writing department newsletter updates
  • Acting as student representatives on library and learning resource matters at SSLCs and departmental meetings
  • Creating websites and ELE content to help raise awareness of the resources in their subject area

Representation and advocacy

  • Providing feedback on study spaces 
  • Spending a budget for library resources for their subject
  • Providing views on library resources in their subject
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Information for Library Champions

As a Library Champion you are responsible for representing the views and needs of students in your subject. For some subject areas there will be more than one Library Champion. You can find out if this is the case by looking at the Library Champion list. By working together, you can undertake a targeted approach to ensuring that both undergraduates and postgraduates have active representation.

The most important thing to remember is that you are representing all taught students, even those in different years to you. You will need to be creative in finding out their views and needs. Perhaps try a short survey, or start a discussion on a relevant ELE forum or Facebook group. The choice of what you do is completely up to you. We are here to help and provide advice if needed.

You will be invited to at least one meeting per term with the Library Liaison team. Try to ask students for their views and feedback prior to these meetings. 

Tip: Find out who the Academic Rep is for your subject. Can you work together to ensure that student views on Library matters are raised at SSLCs? 

What is an SSLC?

Each discipline will have an undergraduate and post-graduate Staff – Student Liaison Committee (SSLC), which gives students the opportunity to voice their opinions about studying at the University and to comment on a wide range of issues and possible developments. The SSLC is presided over by a Subject Chair (a student elected by the Students’ Guild) and composed of student representatives from each year and appropriate staff representatives.

How do I contact my academic representative?

The Guild Representation page has more information on Academic Representation and details of your individual subject reps and postgraduate research liaison forums. 

You can also find details of all the subject chairs and academic reps here: https://www.exeterguild.org/vote/results/

Some SSLCs will have an ELE page – search for SSLC or ask your academic rep for details.

A major part of the Library Champion role is providing feedback to Library staff to help inform ongoing proposals, changes to services and new services and resources. We will usually contact you by email or through the Library Champions Facebook group to ask quick questions. We will also invite you to the occasional meeting or focus group to look at topics in more detail. We will contact you in advance to let you know the information you will need and if you need to prepare in any way.

Exeter Champions can contact us with feedback at any time by contacting libraryhelp@exeter.ac.uk and Cornwall Champions can email: libhelp@fxplus.ac.uk

How much money can Library Champions spend on resources?

The Library Champions have an overall budget of £40,000 to spend on resources for the Library. All Library Champions can make purchases from this pot – there are no allocations for specific subject areas. The money is intended to cater for all taught programmes in your subject area, so please ask all levels of undergraduate and taught postgraduates for suggestions.

What can I purchase?

You can order e-books, printed books or DVDs, but not subscription resources e.g. newspapers / magazines / journals / databases.

How do I purchase resources?

You should complete a Library Champions order form with the details of the resource that you would like to order. 

How long will it take for resources to arrive?

Standard orders take roughly 6 weeks to come because they are pre-processed, i.e. they have the protective covers, library labels, classmark number and security triggers already. E-books are generally much quicker – they can be available within a week.

Is there a deadline for spending the budget?

Yes -  the deadline for spending the resources budget is the end of March. The sooner you start spending, the sooner we get resources in to benefit you and your fellow students, so don’t be afraid to start sending in your orders. Any money not spent after the end of March will be put towards our ‘try before you buy’ e-books schemes, which cover all subject areas.

Will you let me know when resources become available?

We don’t send notifications when the books arrive – if you want to check the progress of an order, just check Library Search to see when the book is here and available to borrow/view online. If a student would like to stay updated on their order, you can recommend that they 'request it' through Library Search. They will then get an email as soon as new copies become available.

Library Champions are expected to promote the Library within their department. Work with the Library Liaison Team to find out what support is available for students in your subject area and promote this as widely as you can. We encourage you to advocate for the library in any meetings you attend and in your lectures and seminars.

You can find out detailed information about Library support for your subject by taking a look at our selection of subject guides: http://libguides.exeter.ac.uk/

Please feel free to contact us with suggestions and feedback on these subject guides by contacting libraryhelp@exeter.ac.uk.

You may like to organise ‘library focused’ projects to improve student experience. You can discuss any plans that you may have with the Library Liaison team by email, through the Facebook group or in our termly meetings.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Survey students in your subject on their views on study space
  2. Help organise a small focus group to feedback on Library resources in your subject
  3. Provide feedback on Library teaching materials and subject guides
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