Library research program gives students chance to broaden skillset

Dana McGeehan Photo credit: Vanessa Gonzalez

Senior Maya Lubarsky has always had a passion for learning. The Library Research Scholar Program has allowed her to follow that passion and also expand her knowledge in a new area – the library.

“I have always been a passionate lover of books and reading,” said Lubarsky, a 2017-2018 Library Research Scholar. “This program has taught me so much about the amazing inner workings of our library and the dedicated and hardworking people who run it, all while pushing me to follow my passions.”

Now, the program has crafted an idea to introduce and inaugurate a new program called the Adobe Library Research Program, in which students will be given the opportunity for a library-faculty learning experience, with access to the UM library’s extensive research collections and service programs with a specific focus on the Digital Media Lab.

“Students benefit from the opportunity to be mentored by a librarian faculty member associated with the Digital Media Lab,” said Kelly Miller, associate dean for learning and research services and director of the Learning Commons. “To develop a project of their own design over the course of an entire year, to gain skills and experience using the creativity software included in Adobe Creative Cloud and to collaborate with other Library Research Scholars.”

The Adobe Research Scholars Program stemmed from the success of the existing Library Research Scholars Program and an endowment provided by Adobe Systems, Inc.

Miller said an Adobe team visited campus last year and toured the Learning Commons inside the library. There, the Adobe team was “particularly intrigued” by the Library Research Scholars Program.

“As we planned the Learning Commons, we heard from students about their growing need for access to software to enable creative work,” Miller said. “The team passed on this enthusiasm to Adobe’s philanthropic program officers, and plans developed from there.”

Each year, two selected undergraduate students will serve as Adobe Scholars in a yearlong, four-part program.

The two students will receive specialized training from experts from the Digital Media Lab, serve as creative consultants to help other UM students maximize the potential of Adobe Creative Cloud and create their own audiovisual and multimedia project.

The students spend the first part of the program developing the project idea with their mentor, conducting research, testing concepts, identifying which tools and technologies to use and writing a project proposal. They create the project with the support of their mentor and fellow scholar and then present their project at the end of the academic year.

Even though students will receive support and guidance from librarians, projects will be their own.

Lubarsky, a neuroscience major, said that she’s extremely satisfied with her decision to apply because she learned of informative topics, which she wouldn’t have pursued on her own.

“The program has exposed me to areas of the library such as data collections, special collections and to librarians who have taught us about copyright, metadata and such,” Lubarsky said.

Dana McGeehan, a 2017-2018 Library Research Scholar with majors in history and management, said the best part of the program has been the relationships she has formed with the various librarians and library staff members with whom she has worked.

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Dana McGeehan Photo credit: Vanessa Gonzalez

McGeehan said having an interesting research experience to include on a resume and a tangible final product are among the many benefits of the program.

“I’ve learned a lot about the research process and have become so much more confident in my research abilities,” McGeehan said.

Last year, the Library Research Program received a “strong set of applications” and anticipates an even more competitive applicant pool in the coming year, Miller said.

To apply for the 2018-2019 Adobe Library Research Program or Library Research Program, which selects three scholars, students should submit their applications here by 5 p.m. Feb. 28.