Collaborative Research Services: A Peer-led Cohort Approach

Published in Reference Services Review, 2023

Johnson, M. W, Bowline, E., King, D. L., Osuna-Garcia, A., Page, S., Tadesse, A., Tarmey, M. & Vest, M.


Purpose Prior to 2020, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library’s research services spanned multiple service points. Multiple locations were staffed by Library Student Research Assistants (LSRAs) and each location was supervised independently. While efforts to increase collaboration had been underway, much of the work and services remained siloed and often duplicated training and service hours.


With the onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), UCLA Library rapidly transitioned from entirely in-person to entirely online services. With multiple service points pivoting, UCLA was redundant to have multiple online desks providing Zoom appointments and that quickly became apparent. Moreover, transitioning in-person student work to remote work was paramount to providing both normal services to users and allowing LSRAs to keep jobs during a time of uncertainty and insecurity.

Findings While the authors’ original consolidation of services and implementation of shared supervision was a result of the pandemic and primarily involved online services, the authors have maintained this shared approach and collaborative vision in returning to in-person services. For the past year, the authors have offered shared in-person (at two library locations) and online services. As subject-specific library locations begin to reopen their desks, the authors continue to identify ways to leverage shared supervision and a robust referral model for those on-site services while negotiating student staffing and the need for both general and subject-specific services.

Originality/value The authors present a novel approach to peer-to-peer teaching and learning and research services and shared student worker supervision with services coordinated across multiple locations and disciplines within a large academic library serving a large student population.


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