In My Librarian Mind

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Are Academic Libraries Doing Enough?

I'd say no! Two days ago a friend of mine asked me about what I do as a librarian. I told him I was a reference librarian and he looked at me blankly (this is someone, mind you, who went to a major university in Illinois and earned a degree) I then proceeded to give him my job description in the form of example research questions I've assisted patrons on. In the end my friend said, "I had no idea that I could just go up to a librarian and ask them for help on a research question." Can you believe this? I can! It's sad, but we librarians aren't doing enough to make ourselves visible and necessary on college campuses. Today, The Kept-Up Academic Librarian relayed the article Libraries lure students with lattes, which discusses some attempts academic libraries have made to expose and integrate themselves more fully into campus life. There was one passage I found of particular interest concerning a survey that was taken at the University of Minnesota...

Most students surveyed even said they should be required--yes, forced--to learn how to use the library.

I agree fully, as an undergraduate student I too was overwhelmed with the massive library at my university. It wasn't until my senior year (I know...too late!) that a professor of mine took our class on a library tour. If not for that class, I may not be where I'm at today (library school). Rather, I may be more like my friend--in the dark about libraries and librarianship.


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