LibRATs Are on the Loose
What’s the recipe for a LibRAT?
- Start with a bright, motivated student who cares about other students,
- Introduce that student to the wealth of library resources and services, then
- Station that student in a residence hall to provide peer reference service to other students.
Students like to learn from and share with other students. This principle is at the core of the LibRAT Peer Reference Program, inaugurated in spring 2010 by College Librarians Frank Vuotto and Brett Bodemer. In partnership with University Housing, this innovative program optimizes the peer-to-peer dynamic by providing reference service outside the confines of the Kennedy Library, reaching students where they live.
For the LibRATs (Library Research Assistance Technicians), the position is a triple boon. As a paid position, it helps defray the high cost of education. More importantly, the continuous training improves their research skills and has direct applications to their own coursework. According to LibRAT Mary Stirchak, a sophomore in Modern Languages and Literature, “I like being a LibRAT because I get to learn how to be a better researcher, which helps me immensely with my classes.”
More importantly, being a LibRAT also fosters social skills and a sense of community. “One of my favorite parts about being a LibRAT,” Stirchak said, “is being able to help people. I feel like this part of the position is really rewarding.”
From Kennedy Library’s 2011 Annual Publication (15.54 MB)