Creating the sandbox: the juxtaposition of collections and student development
Since their beginnings, universities have served as centres for the transmission and exchange of existing knowledge, and for exploring and codifying new forms of knowledge. Libraries have traditionally supported this role by preserving the thoughts and writings of scholars (and society in general), and by providing a means for knowledge across many disciplines to be shared, preserved, and re-accessed across the centuries. In particular, universities and their libraries play an important social acculturation role by helping to educate and support the intellectual, emotional and even moral growth of young adults as they prepare to enter the working world and to define themselves as individuals and as contributing members of society. This presentation will explore the role(s) that academic library collections play in relation to the psychosocial development of young adults. Drawing upon contemporary learning and young adult development theory, we will situate the role of academic library collections in relation to the various developmental stages, tasks and learning challenges that young adults experience during a typical university experience. While academic library collections are typically built and assessed in relation to pedagogical or curricular needs and accreditation processes, they can also be intentionally developed, accessed and promoted with more conscious attention to the developmental needs and context of the students who will use them. At the end of the presentation, audience input will be sought to explore how traditional ways of selecting, promoting, and providing access to library collections can be modified to create more direct and meaningful engagement for our students as they struggle to define themselves and to consider “where do we go from here?” for their generation.