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Practicum placements: An innovative opportunity to foster new skills for future professionals in a cross-university collaboration in Western Australia

McLoughlin, D.ORCID: 0000-0002-7512-2075 and Rozas Núñez, D. (2019) Practicum placements: An innovative opportunity to foster new skills for future professionals in a cross-university collaboration in Western Australia. In: 40th IATUL Conference: Shifting Sands and Rising Tides - Leading Libraries through Innovation, 23 - 27 June 2019, University of Western Australia/Curtin University, Perth



Murdoch University in order to share its collaborative approach to supporting future generations of library professionals organised its first group practicum project in 2017. The project targeted a group of library students from Curtin University with an interest in science fiction. Seven students were recruited for a practicum placement to create a collection development report with recommendations on the management of the library’s Science Fiction Collection. The practicum project was a success, as the students delivered an industry relevant report in an environment that resembles the dynamics of a team project. The Library experience was also successful due to the development of a partnership with Curtin University’s Placement Coordinator and the engagement of Murdoch Library team to support the student experience and the outcomes of this project.

In 2018, the Library decided to develop a new project in conjunction with Curtin University. This time, the Library collaborated with the Curtin University lecturers in creating a new project, from inception to completion, to consolidate the students’ knowledge and experience in information literacy. In 2018, five students carried out a project to create a Special Collections digital learning object and two other projects including the indexing of fanzines using Dublin Core Metadata Elements and a presentation to all Library staff.

The 2018 project proved to be another success for both universities and caught the attention of others in Western Australia. As a result, Murdoch decided to expand its partnership with Curtin University and engaged with other Universities to help them develop similar practicum experiences with the view of developing future partnerships for the benefit of the library and information industry.

This paper will explore Murdoch’s approach to support the library industry in Western Australia through collaboration, engagement and partnerships. The paper will also focus on the lessons learnt and future collaborations following Murdoch’s partnership model.

Keywords: group practicum placements, partnerships, university libraries, library and information skills, Library and Information students, engagement, special collections, workplace-based learning.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch University Library
Conference Website:
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