Library Peer Network: learning better, together

The Library is helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds to build a support network with like-minded students called the Library Peer Network (LPN).

The Network is a digital, peer-led community that reacts to the ongoing needs of students starting at Manchester and offers original study materials, podcasts amplifying underrepresented voices, and showcases development opportunities across the University. 

The LPN has been a bit of a lifeline this year, all the opportunities it's given me and having someone to talk to has made the first year really fun.

Having someone to relate to on things like working part-time and being a role model for your siblings made the first semester less isolating. Add that to being nudged out of my comfort zone to apply to things like scholarships and internships (which I didn't even know were a thing).

Library Peer Network student / Materials Science and Engineering

The University Library’s Student Team are a diverse group of student-staff members with experience in tutoring, teaching and delivering peer support. The Team help students at all stages of University life, from access work to postgraduate learners.

Established in 2020 – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - the University’s Emergency Hardship Fund helped the Team expand to support first-year students in challenging circumstances.

A Microsoft Teams space now exists for first and foundation year students to offer a helping hand, supportive voice, and a shoulder to lean on for those who may not have a well-established support network.

The LPN, which also acts as a signpost to other support networks where needed, has shown how successful peer-led support models can be.

I didn't realise how valuable it was for me to have someone from the same background to vent to and guide me to make the most out of my university experience.

Now I really want to make the most of my time here instead of just trying to do well academically because I know I deserve to be here.

Library Peer Network student / Materials Science and Engineering

Feedback has shown the importance of having like-minded people reaching out during the period of remote learning and the value of having students working for the underrepresented voices.

With thousands of visits to the Open Access materials and a vibrant community of students joining the Teams space, LPN has become an established part of the University Library’s widening participation contribution.

It is also a welcome addition to the transition support for students building on the success of Access Manchester initiatives.