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Exploring common ground: US Writing Center/Library Collaboration

Mardi Mahaffy (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 28 March 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore how library reference departments and writing centers have extended their services to reach audiences beyond their respective locations, and to analyze the experiences of one university in collaboration between the two entities. The aim is to provide insight into the advantages and disadvantages of two approaches toward collaboration: that of a reference librarian holding office hours in a writing center, and writing center consultants providing service hours within the library.


Reference/consultation logs and input from participating consultants and librarians are utilized to explore the usage and effectiveness of the two collaborative approaches.


Analyzing student participation in the library and writing center services indicate that, while students are not likely to seek library reference services in the writing center, they appreciate having writing consultation services available within the library at times when the writing center is not open. Observation also suggests that students use services differently at the two locations, preferring extended interactions at the writing center where hour‐long consultations are customary.

Practical implications

This work conveys first hand experiences and makes suggestions regarding scheduling, staffing, equipment, and publicity.


Little has been written about the feasibility and practical implications of writing center consultants working within libraries.



Mahaffy, M. (2008), "Exploring common ground: US Writing Center/Library Collaboration", New Library World, Vol. 109 No. 3/4, pp. 173-181.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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