When the Curioso Meets the Curator: Engaging Students Outside of the Classroom
Toups, Megan L.
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University special collections librarians and archivists have a primary mission to engage students with the material in our collections. For small liberal arts schools this engagement has traditionally happened in a classroom setting, mediated by faculty. In this paper, I advocate for an important extracurricular role for special collections and archives, a role that engages students at their locus of personal interest regardless of its curricular relevance. This new role helps to support our students’ lifelong learning goals and helps fulfill the mission of liberal arts schools to foster self-directed learning. After reviewing current literature relevant to this issue, I present a case study of a recent collaboration between Trinity University’s Special Collections and Archives and two Trinity freshman students to illustrate how this extracurricular role can impact student learning and the wider campus community. A discussion follows addressing issues of significance, scalability, and sustainability at both small and large institutions.