Skip to Main Content

Library Loop

Inclusive Library Education: a Library Champions Project

by Anna-Lena Kleinert on 2023-09-14T16:42:00+01:00 | 0 Comments

By Jane Pothecary (Learning & Teaching Librarian, Libraries & Collections)

Background to the project 

The aim of this Library Champions project was to co-produce an action plan to improve inclusivity in our information literacy teaching with King’s students. I developed this project with a lot of help from my Learning Design & Delivery colleagues Annie, Ebony, Jonathan, Julie, Nick and Rosemary, as well as Anna and Eve in the Service Development Team.

Development of the project 

Libraries & Collections staff have been focused on thinking more deeply about how we bring about meaningful change in making our services and collections more inclusive. For me, this meant thinking about our teaching and how we could make it more inclusive. I’d considered this question as part of my continuing professional development for some time and I had some ideas, but I wasn’t sure how to take it forward.  

Then I listened to a podcast produced by Westminster University as part of their social justice and education series, with Tamara Reid, Inclusive Curriculum Consultant Programme Lead at Kingston University. She spoke about the importance of working with students directly on issues around inclusion: 

“So, for me, when I work with staff, my thing is like, alright, forget, you know, forget all this language that you’re talking about, you know, sometimes even forget about inclusion – like what I want staff to do is really to think about their students, you know. I think…how can you centre students in whatever it is that you do, how are you taking time to listen to their voices, is something we really, really don’t do. And once we’ve listened to their voices, how can we partner with them to then take forward all the things that we are learning? So, I think, for me, that’s kind of step one, that people just haven’t…aren’t getting right. You know, I don’t care if it’s just reading open comments, I don’t care if it’s having some focus groups, I don’t really care what it is, but really centre your students in your practice. And I think, once you can get that right, you will begin to get the inclusion element right.” 

Tamara Reid, Inclusive Curriculum Consultant Programme Lead at Kingston University 


Our Champions 

We were lucky to have fifteen  participants in the project across different levels of study, qualification type, and disciplines, including researchers, recent alumni and international students. The champions shared their perspectives on inclusivity and information literacy teaching, guiding prioritization and feeding into new ideas and approaches. They gained experience in communicating ideas, shaping procedures, prioritisation, and working with stakeholders.  



Library Champions had a direct role in co-authoring the Action Plan and deciding on priorities within the Plan. We held three, two-hour workshops. Workshops were hybrid. 

Workshop 1: ground rules and defining key concepts such as inclusivity and library education 

Workshop 2: generating ideas 

Workshop 3: drafting the Action Plan and prioritisation 

We also drew on exercises champions could complete asynchronously using Padlet and a shared Google doc. 



Drafting the Action Plan 

To generate the draft Action Plan, Library Champions were introduced to the basics of thematic coding and worked together in groups to turn the data they had gathered into actions and priorities grouped under different themes. 

Results and Next steps  

We now have a draft Action Plan based around three themes: Knowledge and Skills, Teaching and Learning, and Opportunity and Engagement. I’m currently finalising the Action Plan. Once it’s complete, it will be sent to all the participants for their comments and feedback. Once these are incorporated, we will move to implementing the priorities champions identified. 

Key themes emerging so far are flexibility and choice, awareness of library services and support, better tailoring for different disciplines and levels of study, and more teaching on critical skills and new technological developments.   


What were the challenges? 

Logistical and practical issues  

Getting everyone in the same room (either online or in-person) was difficult. We used a hyflex approach that allowed participants to work together and discuss together at the same time regardless of whether they were in the physical or virtual classrooms. This created more flexibility but we still couldn’t find dates and times that all champions could attend. I wanted to use the hyflex technology because it would be more inclusive for the participants, but it was quite challenging to learn and increased the number of things I had to manage during the workshops.  

Making sure champions had contributed to each part of the project either synchronously or asynchronously for payment was also a challenge. Because some champions couldn’t attend every workshop, we needed to provide a way for them to still contribute and be up to speed for the next workshop they could attend.  


Working with students 

As working with students on this kind of project was entirely new to me, I struggled initially with pitching the work at the right level. There was a definite sense of imposter syndrome and perfectionism, both for me as the project lead and from the students. Part of the challenge of the project was getting students to accept autonomy and control over the project. It was great fun to work with the students and watch them grow across the three workshops. 


Any tips or advice for running this kind of students as partners project? 

  • Be super clear about expectations.  

  • Don’t try and master a new technology at the same time as mastering a new way of working like students as partners!  

  • Bring a wide range of colleagues on board; their expertise will be so helpful and they will get a huge amount from it.  

  • Scaffold opportunities so students feel confident but still learn and grow as they go.  

  • Give yourself permission to feel uncomfortable if this is a new way of working for you.   



Maatwk, F., Araneta, K. & Fraser, J. (Hosts). (2021, October 19). Tamara Reid: Inclusion, student partnership and decolonial work in higher education (No. 9). [Audio Podcast Episode]. In Pedagogies for Social Justice. University of Westminster. DOI 

 Add a Comment



Enter your e-mail address to receive notifications of new posts by e-mail.


  Follow Us

  Return to Blog
This post is closed for further discussion.