Partnering and Programming for Undergraduate Honors Students


This article was published in Reference Service Review, vol. 36, no. 1 (2008). It is available online at


Purpose – This paper sets out to describe successful partnerships between Purdue University Libraries' faculty and directors of undergraduate honors programs. By reporting the results and implications of these collaborations and sharing effective approaches for building new partnerships, the author hopes to provide ideas and suggestions for others considering similar collaborations and services.

Design/methodology/approach – During the 2006/2007 academic year, the Instructional Outreach Librarian at Purdue University, West Lafayette, began partnering with directors of honors programs and consequently implemented new services for undergraduate honors students. The paper cites examples, including one pilot program in particular – a research workshop for freshmen honors students in the College of Liberal Arts. Also included are recommendations and effective approaches for partnership building, survey results, and plans for future programming and services.

Findings – These partnerships have strengthened the Libraries' visibility and effectiveness in preparing undergraduate honors students for college-level research and lifelong learning. Though frequent communication and an invested recognition of shared goals is essential, partnerships between librarians and honors programs directors are a natural fit, as both groups work towards undergraduate learning and academic achievement.

Practical implications – Partnering and collaborating with groups outside the library contributes to the effectiveness of library services. This is particularly the case for environments where a naturally broad opportunity may not exist, as is the case at Purdue University, which lacks a core curriculum and information literacy requirement. The efforts described in this paper are transferable and could serve as useful models for librarians considering similar partnerships and programs.

Originality/value – Advocating libraries and the importance of information literacy skills is essential in today's digital information age. Reaching out to potential users and partnering with relevant groups and individuals in the community are invaluable in making known the Libraries' mission and importance.


university honors programs, undergraduate education, programming, outreach, partnerships

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