Course-based exhibitions: Serendipity in the physical and digital spaces of academic libraries

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Library exhibition practices vary significantly between institutions, depending on expertise, resources, and goals of the individual library. The University Libraries at Virginia Tech have supported and developed two exhibition programs within the past six years, both with a focus on showcasing products and processes from classes around campus, rather than library materials and artifacts. While such work is unique, it can provide valuable experiences both for the contributors and creators of these exhibitions, as well as those who see and interact with them. In this article, we discuss the history and origins of these programs, the Course Exhibit Initiative and the Active Learning Curation Program, how they work, and the outcomes they strive to achieve. We discuss the workflows that we take to showcase the work of our contributors, and demonstrate how these programs share some outcomes with exhibit programs based in special collections, but have their own unique challenges and opportunities. Finally, we make the case that the output of these two exhibit programs provides a new experience of serendipity in libraries.

academic libraries, serendipity, exhibitions, learning spaces, Collaboration