Southeast Missouri State University student publication

New Kent Library pilot project offers students opportunity to build library collection

Monday, March 9, 2020
The two bookshelves designated for student collection additions on the East side of Kent Library.
Photo by Daria Lawson

Kent Library’s student-nominated collection additions are open for check out.

Last fall, Randyn Heisserer-Miller, the acquisitions manager at Kent Library, led the “What Would You Like to Read About?” project and the Johnson Endowment Grants to Student Groups — two engagement pilots providing students the ability to add to the collection.

Last semester, online forums were posted on the Kent Library website for subject nominations such as fantasy, fiction and sports, and were later sent out to the student body and balloted to choose the winning materials.

“What Would You Like to Read About?” focused mainly on what kinds of written content students wanted to add to the collection with the subjects ‘best-selling young adult’ and ‘young adult’ novels winning the categories.

Heisserer-Miller explained how the outcomes of the projects help familiarize the library with what students are looking for from their collections.

“The subjects that were chosen by the students were interesting because generally, we don't really spend a lot of money on young adult novels, but when we see that students want them we'll definitely get them,” Heisserer-Miller said. “I think it turned out pretty well. We added about 200 titles to the collection through both initiatives, and we’ve already had a ton of checkouts on them.”

The Johnson Endowment Grants to Student Groups allows more range in materials for students such as physical books, eBooks, technology, tools, kits and more. These grants were previously spent on decisions only made by the library and faculty.

Heisserer-Miller said the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association, one of grant winners, benefitted from the project by being able to provide children, especially those that are language, speech or hearing-impaired, to enjoy books and learn about pathology.

Similarly, the second winner, The Student Dietetics Association, was able to purchase a kit containing food models, portion sizes and interactive activities through the initiative.

Jess Wittenauer, Student Dietetics Association president, explained how the student group has benefitted from the opportunity.

“In our profession, it’s very important to reach our audience and communicate our knowledge in the best way possible. With the Kent Library Grant, we decided that a Nutrition Assessment Kit would be an essential tool that provides us the hands-on experience we will use in our future careers.”

Heisserer-Miller added with these grants, it was intentional to allow students further unconventional sources of education.

“We really wanted stuff for students that maybe a professor would not normally think of providing for their class,” Heisserer-Miller said.

Heisserer-Miller hopes this collection addition will inspire students to have a voice in their surroundings.

“I think that sometimes the library here is an overlooked resource, and I hope having that engagement with students makes them more aware of the resources that are around them,” Heisserer-Miller said.

Barabara Glackin, dean of Kent Library, explained another value she finds in this collection is its ability to reintroduce students to reading for pleasure.

“You know, sometimes you just need to read something that isn't a textbook, and this could give you a nice break — help take a little step back and kind of re-energize,” Glackin said.