Insights from BCC Research

How Faculty Members Use The Academic Library

When we think of university libraries, we tend to think of students. But faculty members also use the library for their own research and when advising students. The ones who take advantage of the library see tangible results in their own work and their student’s work.

Library image

Today’s blog is an interview with Bates College faculty--a professor and Writing Director--who all explain how utilizing the resources at the library will result in more fruitful research for themselves and better grades for their students.

Professor:

Q: What specific resources do you use at the library for your own research and/or to assist your students?

A: For my own use, the wide access to online journals; coming across resources in a variety of ways is super helpful. Having a robust InterLibrary Loan is also really useful; I have easy access to journals. For example, if I need a rare, random book that the Bates library does not have, I’m able to find it with this access.

For students, I would say it really starts with the librarians. It’s important to get to know that librarians are their friends and they should go to them with all the questions they have. As much as our students are “digital natives,” they can get lost in the digital platforms related to libraries. It’s crucial to have librarians break things down and conduct workshops about how to find relevant material.

Q: What resources have demonstrated the most successful results in your own research and your students' work?

A: LibrarySearch+ is super effective for my students and I. If I need to research a specific topic, I have easy access to unlimited sources and can use the prompts to narrow my search. This is also super helpful for journalistic writing and peer-review writing. I can read the reviews about the sources and determine from there.

Q: What resources do you wish students took advantage of at the library? What do you wish they knew about the library?

A: I wish they took more advantage of the librarians themselves. I had a student working with me this summer and we were trying to find specific evidence for a research topic. We did some online searching and struggled. But when the student met with the librarian, we were able to find the exact material we wanted and archives from another library.

Students think that the web is the beginning and end of everything and the most effective; there needs to be a combination of real people and web space.

Q: What do you wish the library offered more of—for your own research or for your students?

A: For my students, I wish there were more library sponsored research workshops to help. There are ways in which the library model is “old fashioned.” We need something that moves beyond the web, that is more dynamic and contemporary in how it encourages students to engage with the library.

Writing Director

Q: What specific resources do you use at the library for your own research and/or to assist your students?

A: For my teaching, I use Jstor and Academic Search Complete for searching academic peer reviewed articles. I use these resources to have my students read and analyze, so that they’re comfortable with reading academic texts. Reading academic texts is very challenging for first year students, so I spend time helping them with reading strategies to tackle these texts.

As a writing program administrator, I also use the resources that were previously stated because I often need to defend or support my arguments about how to teach writing in the classroom to faculty. For example, if I’m talking to a specific professor about how to teach writing in the classroom, I have to provide research from my field (compositional studies). Overall, I have to find the best ways to teach writing.

Q: What resources have demonstrated the most successful results in your own research and your students' work?

A: Anything that I can offer in both print or electronic versions. I believe that it’s important to teach digital literacy and that you have the capability of these skills when you leave Bates.

Q: What resources do you wish students took advantage of at the library? What do you wish they knew about the library?

A: It would be beneficial for students if they would utilize research support services from the librarians first to narrow down a research topic, then work with a student writing tutor. Students should take advantage of the accessibility services at the library.

Q: What do you wish the library offered more of—for your own research or for your students?

A: Works beyond academic texts, specifically writing that is highly regarded in the public sphere that is not peer-reviewed, but is yet still persuasive and credible in the eyes of others who may not attend a competitive university.  It’s important for students to gather new ways of information outside of the tiny bubble of academic literature.

Takeaway Points

  • Resources at the library are not just limited to the bookshelves —take advantage of the unlimited digital materials the library has to offer, plus access to archives from nearby libraries.
  • Remind your students to contact a librarian before doing research; they’re extremely helpful in developing and narrowing their research.
  • Since students are “digital natives,” remind them that they need to work with the librarians to learn to build the skills that determine what material is relevant; they need to discern what is useful to them within the setting of a classroom.
Written by Daniella Pascucci on Nov 12, 2019 11:18:21 AM

Daniella is our Academic Insights Strategist and a current senior at Bates College. She writes about challenges facing college students and tangible ways students can thrive in their academic and professional lives.

Topics: Academic Institutions