Heard Libraries cultivate partnership with Next Steps at Vanderbilt

The Next Steps at Vanderbilt students tour the Peabody Library.
Next Steps at Vanderbilt students explore the Peabody Library’s Youth Literature Collection.

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries recently expanded their partnership with Next Steps at Vanderbilt. The first program of its kind in Tennessee, Next Steps provides neurodiverse students with a college experience that includes academic, social, professional and residential programming that centers equality, compassion and excellence in all endeavors.

The Heard Libraries support Next Steps by providing a welcoming study space for hosting student engagement opportunities, such as book clubs, and creating experiential learning opportunities for Next Steps students, including, but not limited to, student employment.

As the semester began, Peabody Librarian Leslie Foutch and Teaching and Learning Librarian Emily Bush invited Next Steps students and their academic tutors to tour the historic Peabody Library and learn about library resources and services. This orientation served as the launching point for a year of library support and enhanced engagement for Next Steps participants.

“We are so grateful to the wonderful library staff for making our students feel included in the Vanderbilt community,” said April Kosakoff, a Next Steps program development assistant, who commended the libraries on their approach to education, noting their emphasis on encouraging Next Steps students to use library resources in ways that fit their needs.

“The Vanderbilt libraries work closely with our campus partners to ensure Vanderbilt students are equipped with the skills they need not only to succeed academically and in their career goals, but also to support the holistic student experience on campus,” said Melissa Mallon, associate university librarian for teaching and learning. “I look forward to future opportunities to collaborate and engage with the Next Steps program.”