Library as Thesis Laboratory: A Workshop-Based Approach to How Librarians Can Support Writing and Research
ABSTRACT Historically, librarians have supported instruction and curricular development primarily through information literacy sessions and individual consultation. But having identified a gap in the curriculum and academic experience between faculty expectations and student writing ability in the Divinity School at Vanderbilt, as well as a dearth of support for students through the thesis writing process, the library has set out to offer our skills and expertise to guide students through the research and writing of their final theses. This contribution provides an assessment of the inaugural class that took place in the spring semester of 2018, and covers the formation of the course, from conversations with students and planning with administrators to outlining the syllabus. We discuss the actual practice of the program, its successes and pitfalls, and our assessments of the results of this initial effort, as well as our plans for moving forward with the course. By reviewing and evaluating the course, our goal is to stoke conversation about how divinity libraries can identify gaps where their expertise and experience can be leveraged, and design novel ways for librarians to complement and augment existing curricular needs around writing and research.