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Students help improve library study spaces

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Join us in welcoming Alicen Astorga, Jan Carlo Acuña Estrada, Anab Iman, Gabriel Marquez, Izu Sampson, and Amaya Singleton to the libraries!   

We hired six students in January to launch our Student Space Planning Team and improve the experience for students who use library study spaces.​ Funding from the Arizona Student Payroll Protection Program and the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) CARES Act made it possible.

The program targeted employers on campus that hire large numbers of students. The goal is to support the financial well-being of students and offer them opportunities to connect with other students and university employees. The student work also centers on servingness, an idea that HSIs should provide culturally enhancing and equitable experiences for all students. The University of Arizona was designated an HSI in 2018.  

We rely on our student workers hired in many library departments to help us provide the valuable resources and services that contribute to the success of every University of Arizona student. We applied for funds to add to our current student payroll budget and were approved. Our recruiting efforts included reaching out to the campus cultural centers, and the student workers started on February 1.  

This Student Space Planning Team brings a unique perspective to the library. 

In addition to representing different disciplines such as sociology, geoscience, and business, several team members have second jobs. Their experience includes retail, volunteer work, being an RA in the Honors College, and service in the Marine Reserves.   

The students, who are all undergraduates, are working 20 hours a week. They collaborate onsite with our employees and each other at the Main Library and the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library, complete work on their computers, and go out in the field on campus taking photos of favorite student study spaces, including spaces that have been adapted due to COVID-19. Their work involves many different aspects including mentorship, training, learning about design thinking and how we design spaces, and talking with peers and staff. They’ll give a presentation later this spring to provide feedback on our renovated spaces and the upper floors of both libraries so we can make improvements. The program ends on June 30. 

We want the thank Robyn Huff-Eibl, Department Head for Access & Information Services, and many library colleagues for getting the Student Space Planning Team up and running:

Rebecca BlakistonLara Miller, Hasan Sanli, and Hayri Yildirim from Administration; and John Miller-Wells, Kristin Powell, Alegra Savage, and Travis Teetor from Access & Information Services.