Penn State University Libraries recently unveiled a suite of services in which students can receive help with research, writing, and tech issues from fellow students with skills and training in those areas.
These peer-to-peer services are part of a program called The Search Bar. It normally has a physical presence on-site at the University Park campus in the Pattee Library, but services are currently available at a distance via Zoom. This resource is made possible by a collaboration among the University Libraries, Penn State Learning, and Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology.
Specific assistance available through The Search Bar includes:
Penn State students can meet virtually with another student (called a Peer Research Consultant) who can help them with things like choosing/refining a topic, developing research questions, evaluating sources, navigating the Libraries’ website and resources, creating citation lists, and connecting with other departments, librarians, and services.
This enhances the Ask a Librarian service, which allows students to connect with a research librarian for assistance. The new service may appeal to those who may feel more comfortable connecting with another student to get help.
Writing tutors can help students brainstorm ideas for papers or essays, identify better ways to express their ideas, or explore resources to improve their writing skills. Tutors do not write or edit papers or assignments.
Tech tutors can provide training or assist with troubleshooting related to learning management system platforms, common software programs, and web-based tools.
Penn State World Campus students can request help via The Search Bar page on the University Libraries site.