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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Munday Library’s new initiative invites students to get creative, learn something new

Emma Sutton / Hilltop Views
Library aid Patricia Martinez demonstrates pixel art by creating a Hello Kitty made of perler beads.

As a part of Munday Library’s new initiative to make the library more of a student hub, innovation labs are being hosted where students can come enjoy arts and crafts activities while learning about new things.

Over the past few years, the library has seen a drop in attendance, but as of last year the numbers started going up. People generally come to the library to find a quiet place to study or join their Zoom classes. Looking to expand the reasons why students flock to the building, Munday Library has gotten creative. 

According to Brittney Johnson, a library curriculum and instruction developer, the program was in its pilot stage as of last year. She is hoping to make it a pillar of the library community in the next coming years. 

“We have been interested in expanding our information literacy curriculum,” Johnson said. “We’re really interested in collaborating with people across campus to create these more authentic experiential learning-based programs.There has been a tradition for a little while of these maker spaces in libraries, and things like that. I know that here, at St. Ed’s there are maker spaces, but usually, those are for students in a specific discipline and so the benefit of the library doing something like this is that it’s open to everyone.”

Since moving to a completely digital library, Munday Library has been looking for cool ways to bring people in. 

“During Covid, we moved to a completely digital collection, there are a lot of reasons for that…ultimately by moving to a digital collection we actually have access to more than we could have in a physical collection and much more up-to-date information as well,” Johnson said. “So, with that move, it meant that we had to re-envision the library essentially, what we are and what we want to offer for students.”

Their most recent event, the Bits and Beads innovation lab, had about 12 people in attendance. This lab focused on learning the binary alphabet, a coding system which gives a fixed binary number–a collection of ones and zeroes–to all letters of the alphabet, via making bracelets. Students selected colors of beads aligning with ones and zeroes. 

“We used to do this when I was at UT for women in computer science because it was a really lowkey way to introduce the idea of binary to people instead of just ones and zeroes for letters and numbers,” computer science professor Megan Avery said.

There was a pixel art session for students to try out as well.. During the pixel art session, students created their own masterpieces using things like perler beads, sticky notes, Legos and a Lite Bright.

The library hopes to have some programs that build upon each other throughout the semester.

“Our model right now is to have one-off sessions for basic skills, sewing is super popular, and then have a longer series where students can build on a skill and follow more of a design thinking process to really learn something but then have the autonomy to play around and experiment in an authentic way,” Johnson said. “That is my big philosophy that is really driving the innovation lab.”

Overall, the innovation labs offer a great way for students to decompress and learn something new at the same time. Check out the library’s event calendar to sign up for a session.

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About the Contributor
Emma Sutton
Emma Sutton, Staff Writer
Emma Sutton is a junior a majoring in writing and rhetoric with a concentration in journalism and digital media. It is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and first semester as a staff writer. She loves writing about all things pop culture but also has a soft spot for baseball.

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