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CNIE - Beyond the Library's Walls: Student Athlete Program

Student Athlete Program

PACE stands for “Pack’s Academic Edge” It’s a program that was first piloted in Fall 2013 by Student Services and Supplemental Learning, creating a weekly study hall for TRU Student Athletes (with the TRU Wolfpack.) Depending on the time of the semester, students could study quietly on their own, receive peer tutoring, or get assistance with research, reading, or writing.

Winter 2013: scheduled a librarian to come in on 2 different evenings, each time to offer a short workshop and then to offer drop-in research help. Approximately 6 students were in attendance at the study hall both evenings; none were interested in the workshop content, and only 1 student asked for research assistance (at the very strong urging of the peer tutor in charge that night.) That said, the same student followed up twice more outside of PACE hours, all during the last week of classes, and while reaching one former non-library user wasn’t exactly a huge success, it was enough to agree to try again the following semester!

Fall 2013: scheduled 3 drop-in help sessions. The program itself had grown, and was now required by some coaches, so about 30 students were in attendance each night. Received 4, 5, and 2 reference questions respectively, including two from students who’d missed library instruction classes earlier in the semester as they’d been at away games – so we were making connections and providing the exact type of support the program was intended to provide. The numbers aren’t huge, but they’re certainly comparable to an evening shift at the Reference Desk. We were aided by the fact that one of the program’s peer leaders was a strong library supporter herself, who had made 1-on-1 library appointments for her own research in the past, and who advocated strongly for the value of library help when advising the athletes.

Winter 2014: the model of the program changed yet again, as fewer students were required to attend by their coaches, and numbers dropped. Not wanting to waste a librarian’s time, PACE peer leaders suggested trying on-call help, rather than scheduling specific dates in advance. Towards the end of the term when they encountered several students struggling with papers in the regular weekly sessions, they then asked for a librarian to come in the following week, and directed those specific students to the librarian for help (3 students in an evening, again not dissimilar to an evening reference shift.)

We will continue to work with the program as it evolves; with peer leaders creating an environment and culture that encourages research and library use, the PACE study hall has the potential to be a good space to connect with one specific group of students.