Experimentation in an Academic Library: A Study in Security and Individual Student Engagement

Susan Marie Burns Steuer, Matthew Thornton Brodhead


The Special Collections and Rare Book Department at Western Michigan University collaborated with a student worker to develop a system to improve security and employee performance.  The student was taking a course in psychology that required him to develop a workplace behavioral intervention with a client and modify an important behavior for employee performance.  The article explains both the timer system developed to remind student workers to monitor users and discusses the benefits to the student and the department in working with the curriculum.  The project employed techniques of behavioral psychology.  It increased attentiveness to patrons and improved monitoring of item handling.  The project illustrated the role libraries can play in student instruction through non-traditional approaches to internships and practical experience.


Special Collections, behavioral psychology, undergraduate education, student employment

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ISSN: 1947-525X