Position Opening: Student Developer

The Shapiro Design Lab seeks undergraduate and graduate students to help pilot a new program focused on engaged learning experiences through software project development. Taking its inspiration from New York Public Library Labs and the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, this cohort will work on experimental projects that push what an academic library can be in this ever-evolving experimental space founded on peer learning, engaged learning, and interdisciplinarity. The Lab encompasses a variety of learning opportunities and projects within three different spaces, all located on the first floor of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library:

PIE Space (Prototype-Inspire-Explore): 

An open area that features a Prototyping Cart, collaboration hub with 55” monitor, Design Library, whiteboards, large screens, and a repurposed vending machine, the Design-o-Matic 4000.

Media Production Rooms:

Two rooms offering a variety of tools and software that can be used for audio/video production, CAD, graphic design, and more. 


An area with a number of "making" tools (letterpress, sewing machine, vinyl cutter, soldering stations, 3D printers), as well as a collaboration hub and whiteboards. 

In addition, we have three communities of students who work in the Lab: Residents, graduate students who develop interdisciplinary and creative projects over the course of the year within the Lab; Interns, undergraduate students who assist in the day-to-day operations of the Lab and contribute to the communities of the Lab through workshops and consultations; and Student Developers, who explore and create experimental tools and applications for the future of the Library.

Finally, the SDL will focus on three themes for the 2017-18 academic year: 

Library Lab, which will experiment with tools, services, and applications for the Library itself, in order to better understand the possibilities of how people can engage with the Library in all its forms. 

The Citizen Lab, in partnership the School of Information's Citizen Interaction Design (CID) program, will support civic technology and citizen science projects here on campus and in conjunction with communities within and beyond Ann Arbor.

The Game Lab, which will serve as a hub for game developers, designers, and scholars on Central Campus, in conjunction with the Computer Video Game Archive on North Campus.

While much of the work can fall under the "Library Lab" theme, there will be opportunities to cross over into the other themes as well. Some initial project possibilities include: 

  • Internal Library engagement experiments (such as the Awesome Box)
  • Development and use of sensors and applications for citizen science monitoring projects
  • Large-scale open source development projects the Library participates in such as Samvera and Zooniverse.
  • Your own ideas for experiments to develop within the Library, developed in collaboration with the rest of the Design Lab team, Library IT, and other partners within the Library.

Applicants should have experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Dependability and reliability
  • Effective communication in a complex environment
  • Project development and management
  • Interest in collaborating with individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, and viewpoints
  • Experience with one or more of the following development areas:
    • Git and Github
    • Front end + back end web development (HTML, CSS, Javascript, Rails, PHP, etc)
    • Arduino, Raspberry Pi and other open hardware
    • Mobile and other application development (C, C++, Objective C, etc)
    • Data collection and analysis (Python, R, etc)

We understand that no one will be good at all of these skills; this is a team effort that will rely upon collaborations of multiple people with different backgrounds and strengths, both within and beyond the Library. If you feel that your experience and/or expertise is not represented in this list, please share this in your application.

Student Developers will be expected to work 10-15 hours per week, at a rate of $15/hour. While some of the work should happen within the Shapiro Design Lab, we understand that some work will occur off campus. 

In order to apply, please fill out the following application and send a current resume to shapirodesignlab@umich.edu. Applications will be accepted until September 15.

If you have questions, please email shapirodesignlab@umich.edu.