Building Communities Through Tailored Facilities, Support & Events at Warwick

Liz Gardner

Liz Gardner reflects on a SDG event at Warwick, where exploration, customisation and diversity contributed to a rich attendee experience - and a chance to escape the everyday!

On Friday 26 January the University of Warwick hosted the MSDG session as part of the All the Same but Different library tour events programme.

The event got off to a flying start with presentations from Becky Woolley, Gemma Marakas and Ana Kedves from University of Warwick Library’s Community Engagement Teams, focussing on the importance of engaging with both student and teaching communities. Their messages centred around active engagement, collaboration and supporting wellbeing to “support the whole student to succeed” and “to be an essential partner in teaching and learning”, two of the Library’s core aims. These talks generated lively discussion around use of flexible spaces, creating a sense of belonging, the use of social media as a conduit for feedback, and various animal themed events!

Following lunch, attendees broke out into smaller groups to tour a variety of spaces and heard more how various communities are supported, including specific needs and widening participation provision. The touring groups had the opportunity to visit the Postgraduate Hub, the Rootes Learning Grid as well as the Main Library. The Hub provides a dedicated postgraduate space, enabling them to access support, work in a collaborative environment and even socialise with peers. Conversely, the Learning Grid is an extremely popular study space supporting group and individual study, which also hosts cultural events and Study Happy wellbeing events.

Another of the sessions was presented by Laura Waller, University of Warwick Library’s Disability Officer. Delegates heard about the accessible services on offer, with the added bonus of visiting the Library’s new Sensory Study room and testing out some of its features: bubble tube, wobble cushions, aroma cubes and sensory toys. [Why did I manage to miss out on this visit, it sounds fabulous – Ed]

Just to keep attendees on their toes, a widening participation event, presented by Julie Robinson and Chris Vernon from Warwick’s Academic Services Team, took the form of an escape room challenge. Participants were invited to join in this interactive game, completing activities and questions, contained within a ‘codebook’, through completing a series of library related tasks.

Attendees were ‘released’ at the end of the day with plenty of ideas to ponder on how library staff can engage with diverse groups of people and further enhance the student experience.

Ana Kedves – building our communitiesTouring delegatesLaura Waller – Support for Specific NeedsGemma Marakas – building our communities...with gooses?

Liz Gardner, University of Warwick