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Designing Little Free Libraries for Community Partners in a First-Year Graphics and Design Course

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Johnson Playful Learning Lab

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Elizabeth is an undergraduate student studying Mechanical Engineering. She works as a peer mentor for the Engineering Graphics and Design course and is a Research Assistant in the Playful Learning Lab.

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Elise Rodich University of St. Thomas

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Elise Rodich is studying mechanical engineering with a minor in materials science at the University of St. Thomas. She works for the Playful Learning Lab as an undergraduate student researcher on a variety of projects, including the Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer camp (STEPS) with the Center for Engineering Education.

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Hannah French


Annmarie Thomas University of St. Thomas

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AnnMarie Thomas is a professor in the School of Engineering and the Opus Colluege of Business at the University of St. Thomas where she is the director of the UST Center for Engineering Education. Her research group, the Playful Learning Lab, focuses on engineering and design education for learners of all ages.

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This Engagement in Practice paper will share lessons learned from the incorporation of a community engagement project into a first year Engineering Graphics and Design class for Mechanical Engineering students. As part of their design and CAD class, students worked in teams to create a design for a Little Free Library for one of four community partners. These four partners ( (1) ______ Deaf School, (2) ____ Children's Museum, (3) ______ Pollinator Path, and (3) _____ Boys and Girls club all have specific aesthetic and user needs unique to their organization. Through client meetings, deign reviews, and exploration, student teams proposed a final solution to the clients (multiple teams were assigned to each client) and the clients chose a design that would then be built by the students.

This paper will include: (1) reflections on the challenges and opportunities presented in involving multiple community partners into a single class project, (2) student responses to the projects, and (3) partner feedback on the project.

Johnson, E., & Rodich, E., & French, H., & Thomas, A. (2020, June), Designing Little Free Libraries for Community Partners in a First-Year Graphics and Design Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34409

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