Like many of his peers, first-year student, Tory Walton has a bunch of papers to write this semester, all requiring research and citations.
“They have to be APA format,” the criminal justice major said. “I struggle with that.”
Help, however, is just across Parking Lot 18 – or even closer. On March 6, Librarians, Deborah Spanfelner and Dana Curtin took their show on the road, paying a visit to SUNY Broome’s Student Village. Nearly two dozen students and Dean of Students, Scott Schuhert attended the informational program, which included an overview of Library resources, search tips and pizza. The Librarians addressed major points from a PowerPoint presentation that was running in the background.
While the Library still maintains its print collection, a large percentage of resources are now digital, Curtin told students. “I’m always working with computers!” Spanfelner told students. “I love books, but for my job, there are days that go by when I never even touch a book.”
The first place to start with your research paper is the Library’s website, which includes access to a wide range of resources. Students can search for books and articles, and they can access them directly from the website. Students can conduct their research online from the Student Village.
Also on the Library’s website, there are tools for navigating APA, MLA and Chicago Manual of Style formats, course and subject guides, and tutorials on how to use the Library’s services more effectively. Recently a subject guide for using the Library has been created for French speakers. Soon one in Spanish will be added. Students in the library can also use the 23 stations in the reference room to access the Library’s databases. For those who find it difficult to afford their textbooks, the Library tries to make available course textbooks on reserve for in-house use.
The Library offers personalized research assistance as well. The Library’s many talented Librarians are available hours that the Library is open for individualized help. Students can stop at the reference desk to ask questions and/or schedule an appointment with a subject specialist Librarian for help with in-depth research strategies. Also, students can chat online with a reference Librarian via Ask Us 24/7, a service that allows users to chat with academic Librarians from across the country, no matter the hour. Need help with research at 2 in the morning? Check Ask Us 24/7, available on the Library’s website.
Spanfelner noted that Librarians can help students whittle down their research topic and focus on a certain aspect of it. This can aid a student in formulating the paper’s thesis statement. The process of teaching students criteria for evaluating sources develops critical thinking skills, which are needed given the enormous amount of information available on the Internet.
There are other resources available in the same building as the Library. There are additional computer labs, a student computer center help desk, the Writing Center, Math Lab, tutoring and more.
Student Village RA Emily DePalmo, who helped coordinate the visit with fellow RA Jocelyn Friend, suggested that the Librarians return for another session. It is evident that this is a project that the Librarians enthusiastically embrace. The Student Village visit received support from Robin Petrus, Library Director; Dr. Francis Battisti, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer; Jeffrey Horowitz, Director of Housing; Scott Schuhert, Dean of Students as well as needed support from Emily and Jocelyn.
Students said the presentation made them aware of the help available from the Library. “There are more resources at the Library than I thought,” first-year student Tcheser Feaster said after the Library presentation. Students were impressed by all the resources available to them.
Spanfelner and Curtin gave kudos to Emily DePalmo and Jocelyn Friend for their enthusiasm and creative efforts at facilitating such a rewarding afternoon for the students. This outreach event would not have been as successful as it was without their collaboration, they said.
The Librarians and R.A.’s are currently planning another session. This time, students can work on their specific research projects with the opportunity to consult individually with the Librarians. The Librarians plan to nurture and build on this new partnership that lends itself to student success.