Reading lists or resource lists have established themselves as an essential software for teaching and learning in the UK, Australian and New Zealand Higher Education markets. However, can they be used for more than just supporting teaching and learning?
Uniquely, KeyLinks is used not just in the education space but also by public libraries and I think that the education market can pick up some interesting pointers from how it is used outside education. This would help to take the resource list service to the next level and engage an even wider community at an HEI.
Public libraries use the resource list system in three key ways: to promote new material in the collection, to support the local community and to raise awareness of wider topics. For example, they may have a list of books to consider from black and minority writers they promote during Black History Month, a list that has all the shortlisted books for this year’s Man Booker Prize, a list on books and articles that provide the history of the local area or a list highlighting the 20 new DVDs that they got in last week.
In an educational establishment the lists might be different, however, the role that HEIs play in support and care beyond academic support is growing and resource lists like the ones mentioned above could help to play a role. Beyond bringing the materials for teaching and learning that sit within the library front and centre to the student, they can also be a powerful tool for other student support departments to raise awareness about resources both within and outside the library.
Let’s start with the library. The library is not just a place where you can get access to books, journal articles, magazines, newspapers and a plethora of other materials, but for many HEIs it also takes on the role of teaching digital literacy and study skills.
While these are not always classes that students can attend and count towards their degree, they are important skills and topics that will span over the course of their time of higher education learning.
Yet, lists can go further than supporting learning in a wider context. Going to live away from home for the first time can be exciting and scary and not always knowing the area could be daunting for some. Resource lists could be a central place for students to go to in order to find and access useful resources for when they first arrive at universities. Directing them to everything from the campus map to the local bus timetable, from local shops that offer student discounts, to the campus GP or even places of interest that they should visit.
Then there are the pastoral care and support areas that could be better supported with resource lists. Whether it be help with mental health issues that students are looking for, understanding more about LGBTQIA issues or looking for a religious community, having a list of resources - whether they be physical, digital, or links to the websites of services - can make dealing with a potentially challenging situation for a student that much easier. Without these carefully curated lists of resources, approved by the university, the alternative may be students being overwhelmed by the results of Google searches.
Finally, once a student is nearing the end of their academic career and is looking at what options are available, a resource list can be a great way to flag resources that might help them as they go forward. These lists could include recruitment agencies, CV writing advice and interview preparation.
So while a resource list has become intrinsically linked with supporting the learning outcomes for a degree, there is so more that can be done with them, not just by the library but the whole institution, to support students in all aspects of their life while in higher education.
Find out more about keylinks by visiting: keylinks.org
About the Author
Meghan Mazella is CLA's Senior Product Manager.