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Supporting the Rutgers Community at All Stages

August 10, 2017
Future Scholars

Rutgers Future Scholars use Legos at the Art Library to learn about teamwork and libraries, summer 2016. Credit: Megan Lotts.

The Libraries proudly support programs at Rutgers that are designed to enrich the experiences of students before, during, and after their time at the university.

At Rutgers–New Brunswick, reference and instruction librarian Jill Nathanson leads the Libraries’ participation in the Rutgers Future Scholars Program. This initiative helps children from disadvantaged communities in the university’s host cities become first-generation college students and, if they choose to attend Rutgers, fully funds their tuition. The program—which engages students starting from seventh grade with summer and weekend enrichment programs and continues with support throughout college—recently graduated its first cohort as part of the Class of 2017.

Nathanson, along with data librarian Ryan Womack, works with Future Scholars during the summer between their second and third years of high school. In their weeklong internship at the Libraries, the students tackle projects such as gamification of library instruction—last summer’s group designed an activity called “Decoding a Mystery at the Alexander Library” that was later used for transfer student orientations—and visit with library faculty and staff.

“I love giving the students exposure not just to a university setting for the first time, but also to an array of career opportunities at the library that they may not have considered,” Nathanson said. “They are always amazed at the variety. We’re not just shelving books here.”

Moreover, since most Future Scholars eventually go on to attend Rutgers, Nathanson notes that one of the most important aspects of the program is how it affects their experience as undergraduates.

“They become comfortable at the library and so when they get here, they’re not afraid to ask for help,” she said. “It’s a huge advantage for them and helps ensure their success at Rutgers.”

At Rutgers–Newark, business librarian and information literacy coordinator Roberta Tipton is among those at John Cotton Dana Library who support the Libraries’ involvement in the Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC). This innovative reimagining of honors education brings a melting pot of students together—from first-generation and transfer students to veterans and student parents—to live and learn while addressing social issues related to poverty, inequality, and economic growth.

Tipton teaches a workshop that introduces academic research, explaining the research and writing processes and teaching fundamental skills such as searching databases and creating bibliographies. At the core of this instruction, however, is teaching students how to apply the models, theories, and concepts found in academic writing in ways that will enrich in their community engagement.

“I wanted these students especially to know why they are doing research,” she said. “HLLC students are activists and leaders. I think it is very important that the library is involved in helping them understand how scholarship can support their leadership, and how their growth as scholars will support their growth as leaders.”

But the Libraries’ commitment to the Rutgers community doesn’t simply end when students graduate. Our doors remain open for alumni, who are welcome to borrow from our collection of over 4 million print volumes, enjoy on-site access to our indexes and databases, or consult with a librarian to satisfy their information needs.