Last year, in-person student appointments were not happening at many academic libraries; instead, we relied heavily on meeting virtually. This blog post will provide some reflective cues throughout it so that we are taking this time to reimagine how we support students during this pandemic.
How are you making yourself available to students this semester?
Before the pandemic, I was ready to go to student events and make myself available to student clubs. I wanted to go outside of the library space to see and interact with students. Then the pandemic began and derailed those plans. Now that we are entirely in-person and more in-person student events are happening, I am going out to meet with students. My colleague had a great idea to give the students a quick survey to win a prize when we drew their names. This idea was great because we could get information about why and how they use the library.
If there is a way to set up a table at a student event, then take advantage of that opportunity. Also, if there is a way to collaborate with other services or departments to make yourself more available, try that.
Do you have a variety of ways that students can reach you?
I do not want to lose the virtual student research consultation aspect incorporated at the end of Spring 2020 until the Fall of 2021. Especially since I support 100% remote programs, keeping the choice of meeting virtually with students will stand beyond this pandemic. I am glad that students can chat, email, come into the library, text, and schedule an appointment with us. Having these different ways to communicate with a librarian is so helpful for students. Now that I am physically back in the library, I let students know where my office is located, so they are welcome to stop by if they need to. Also, when I am at the reference desk, if they need to stop by, I am open to them stopping there. Lastly, the research guides that we create hopefully will support students, which I think is a point of contact with them.
What is your process before meeting with a student?
Before meeting with students, I like to make sure that I understand their inquiry to prepare myself as much as possible. As a result, I will send an email stating their question to see if their inquiry is still the same. Then I usually ask a series of questions to see what they have done thus far. During the meeting, they tell me what they have worked on, and together we work on their assignment.
These resources have guided me as an academic librarian who does instruction and interacts with students daily. Hopefully, these resources will be helpful to you.
- Creating a Student-Centered Alternative to Research Guides: Developing the Infrastructure to Support Novice Learners
- Dismantling Deficit Thinking: A Strengths-Based Inquiry into the Experiences of Transfer Students In and Out of Academic Libraries
- Critical Librarianship in Health Sciences Libraries: An Introduction