Transforming Schools Engagement Through Partnerships

Over the last decade, Australia has seen a trend of academic libraries formalising new exhibition programs that extend beyond the traditional model of only showcasing special collections. Driven by several factors including the reduced footprint of print collections and changes to ways University campuses are used, many libraries have invested in exhibition-making people and infrastructure to activate their physical and digital spaces.

This presentation outlines a co-creation approach that some libraries have taken to exhibition development and proposes a new model for exhibitions-as-a-service in academic libraries. It draws on case studies from recent exhibitions developed at Deakin Library and UNSW Library. Through collaborative exhibition-making with academic and community partners, these exhibitions highlight the potential for academic libraries to be connectors across disciplines, and between research and education. The exhibitions discussed in this presentation showcase possible outcomes for libraries that move beyond the model of exhibitions which aim only to increase engagement with collections. This novel co-creation approach to exhibition-making instead centres on community, drawing on an academic library’s faculty-neutral position to create cultural experiences that enable cross-disciplinary exchange.

Brenda Carter

Learning and Research Librarian, University of Tasmania

Author Bio

Brenda is an information specialist with experience in a variety of sectors, including university, school, TAFE, public and special libraries. As a Learning and Research Librarian for the University of Tasmania, Brenda focuses on meeting the information literacy and research needs of students, academics and community members. She coordinates the Library’s Schools Engagement program, and is actively involved in partnerships with external stakeholders. Brenda is passionate about the potential for libraries to promote equality, diversity and inclusion through community engagement and open education.

Ruairi Murphy

Learning and Research Librarian, University of Tasmania

Author Bio

Ruairi is a Learning and Research Librarian at the University of Tasmania. He works with a team of librarians to help students and academics learn the skills and access the resources they need for their research. Ruairi enjoys writing and in 2021 published a book of short stories about his local library, the profits from which were donated to purchasing adult literacy resources.