Leicester student Library Champions help shape access to academia

The latest group of Leicester Library Champions have showcased the work they have undertaken – alongside their studies – to improve access for students at the University of Leicester.

A total of 44 student volunteers lent their skills to six different projects in 2021/22, using their perspective as current undergraduate, Master’s or PhD students to shape Library services and resources for their peers.

The full list of Library Champions projects includes:

  • inputting to the Library’s Represent campaign by generating online content to share with Leicester students and promote diverse Library resources by creating themed online reading lists
  • using feedback to investigate the effectiveness and impact of teaching research skills at the University of Leicester
  • exploring a number of different audio tools to both improve accessibility and promote active reading, to be adopted within academic study
  • learning how to edit Wikipedia articles and improve access for readers openly available publications and media
  • developing a library toolkit to diversify reading lists and contribute to Leicester’s inclusive curriculum
  • and engaging with the Archives and Special Collections team to learn archive skills, and the process of producing creative responses to the past, while also contributing to a student record of the University’s Centenary year

Library Champions worked with teams from across the Library, including academic librarians and information experts, teaching and research professionals and archives specialists.

Library Champions programme lead Heena Karavadra (right) with three of Leicester's latest Library Champions in the David Wilson Library.

Corrigan Goodwin is a final-year Law (JD Pathway) LLB student and engaged with the programme in 2021/22. She said: “Being a Library Champion has helped me in everything from organisation skills to insights on social media, which is becoming increasingly important in my field of study. I really appreciate how many new opportunities I gained and unexpected things I learned from participating in Library Champions. 

“What I would say to students thinking about getting involved is that it is a great way to meet people outside of your program and also to be involved in a meaningful way with the University as a whole. Being a Library Champion is an opportunity to learn and engage with topics and projects that you normally would not interact with.

Samuel Carter, a third-year Physics with Space Science BSc student, added: “Being part of the Library Champions was a great opportunity to work on skills that I will be able to transfer into the wider world, while also being part of something meaningful to the University community.

“It really felt like the experience was mutually beneficial, and I’m looking forward to participating in the future. I’d recommend this project to anyone, but especially first-year students who want to meet new people while learning more about what goes on in the Library.”

Heena Karavadra is an Academic Librarian within the University of Leicester’s Division of Library and Learning Services and leads the Library Champions programme. She said: “The Library Champions scheme is a wonderful opportunity for the Library to work in collaboration with students from all levels of study and all subject areas to help improve services for students. I’ve been leading the Library Champions scheme for three years and I learn something new from our students every time.

“Their unique perspective and insight into the Library has helped shape new initiatives such as the Represent campaign and helped us to understand better with how students use the Library services.”

If you are a current University of Leicester student and would like to find out more about getting involved with the Library Champions programme, click here (login required for current students).