While stress relief activities in academic libraries during finals weeks are nothing new, few libraries have experimented with turning the reins over to the students. Librarians at Valparaiso University initiated a two-round ideation and voting process for students to choose their own finals week programming. First, students were asked to generate ideas for the programs they wanted to see during finals week and to share them on whiteboards in the library lobby. Second, after the most prominent suggestions had been identified, students again used the whiteboards to vote for the top eight programs: four active and four passive.
Allowing students to propose their own programming resulted in many innovations and even some new campus partnerships. The suggestion to have yoga in the library resulted in a well-attended program organized in collaboration with the university’s Recreational Sports office. The idea to have a “Pillow/Blanket fort” materialized when the library turned a lounge into a do-it-yourself blanket fort space; students used sheets and cushions to create comfortable spaces for relaxation and studying. From a stress-relieving “group scream” to a makerspace with Playdough and button maker supplies, the week of student-driven activities pushed the library outside its normal programming routines into new territory.
The poster documents the process of planning and assessing this week of programming, including photographs of the ideation and voting stages, of the programs themselves, and of the students’ feedback.
Robison, Mark and Muszkiewicz, Rachael, "Patron Driven Programs: Successes and Lessons Learned from Turning the Library Over to Students for a Week" (2016). Library Faculty Presentations. Paper 15.