Library’s Knowledge Market offers services to students
The library at Grand Valley State University has recently implemented a program called the Knowledge Market, where peer consultants assist students with their research, writing and speech skills all in one space.
Brian Merry, head of operations and user services at University Libraries, said the peer research consultants are highly-trained students who work one-on-one or in small groups to help fellow students develop research questions, strategies and focus for completing assignments.
The Peer Research Consultant program began offering services on Sept. 5 in Zumberge Library, but the full operation of the Knowledge Market will take effect next fall when the Mary Idema Pew Library opens.
Merry, along with Mary O’Kelly, head of instructional services at the Zumberge library, were a couple of the key players in the implementation of this program. Both O’Kelly and Merry coordinate the Knowledge Market and play roles in the development and assessment of the program, as well as the supervision of the consultants.
“Once we move into the new building, our roles will also encompass working with the Writing Center and Speech Lab in the development of the Knowledge Market where all three services will be offered in the same space simultaneously,” O’Kelly said.
Lee VanOrsdel, dean of university libraries, has had a vision of the Knowledge Market for years.
“The Knowledge Market is based on a conviction that students need to be able to manage their own learning, choosing when and how they seek help,” VanOrsdel said. “The model comes from a shopping mall where users are offered an array of attractive products and services under one roof and in an environment designed to help them find what they need and with amenities that add to the experience in unexpected ways.”
Next fall, the Knowledge Market will be fully operating, and research, writing and speech consultants will work together in one space to assist students in developing and exploring their skills and interests in these areas. Until then, all of these services are available to students in different locations.
“The peer research consulting service is modeled after GVSU’s highly successful Writing Center,” O’Kelly said. “Students who would like to sit and talk with a knowledgeable peer about their assignment, choosing a topic, developing a research plan and finding library resources can either drop in or make an appointment.”
O’Kelly said the peer research consultants in the library so far have been a success.
“In the first month we’ve provided nearly 100 consultations for students from over 60 different classes, and several students have come back more than once,” O’Kelly said. “The feedback we’ve gotten is very positive.”
Merry said once the Knowledge Market opens in the new library, it will include presentation practice rooms, playback rooms, and software and furnishings.
“Our Peer Research Consultant program is really just one-third of the Knowledge Market, in which we are partnering with the Writing Center and Speech Lab to provide a one-stop shop in the new Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons for students to get help with research, writing and presentations,” Merry said. “Information Technology is also moving their helpdesk into the new library, and they will be there to support students in the new technology rich environment.”
To schedule an appointment with a peer research consultant, students can go to the library website or can come into the Zumberge library Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. When the Mary Idema Pew Library opens, the Knowledge Market will be open Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.