How much do your students know about the Personal Librarian program?

April 21, 2015

How much do your first-year (or more advanced) students know about the resources available at the University of West Florida Libraries or how to use them? The Personal Librarian program gives students a personalized and direct link to the library. Every entering freshman is assigned to a Personal Librarian, who is prepared to help students find resources for assignments and research papers and answer questions about using resources and services in the UWF Libraries. The Personal Librarian serves as a student’s library advisor – the "go-to" person for all things related to the library.  Personal Librarians also refer students to the appropriate library or university contact for help with information technology, writing, or tutoring.

Students typically work most frequently with a Personal Librarian during their freshman year. Once they become more familiar with the Libraries or declare a major, students should begin working with the Subject Specialist Librarian for their discipline, who will provide discipline-specific research assistance.

Faculty can encourage students to make use of their Personal Librarian by including a consultation with the student’s Personal Librarian as a required component of a class project that requires library resources. Similarly, faculty can require more advanced students to consult with the Subject Specialist Librarian for their discipline. Alternatively, faculty can contact their Subject Specialist Librarian to discuss the information literacy skills required for a class project and request a library workshop that is tailored to the expectations of the assignment.

What you can expect a Personal Librarian to do during a consultation with a student:

  • Help student identify relevant resources and databases, demonstrate how to use library databases to find information for a research assignment, and explain citation formats.
  • Help students locate materials held in other libraries.
  • Help students when they have trouble accessing the library's website or an electronic resource.
  • Answer questions about library policies, procedures, and services.
  • Keep students informed of new resources, services, and programs.
  • Refer students to other UWF academic support units that can help them with information technology questions, writing assistance, or tutoring services.

Personal Librarians are mentors. They WILL NOT:

  • Carry out a student’s library research, write the student’s paper, or edit the paper.
  • Replace advisement roles of any other department on campus.
  • Proctor exams.
  • Make photocopies.

Thanks to Melissa Gonzalez and Britt McGowan for suggesting this strategy. Special thanks to all of the Personal Librarians at the University of West Florida Libraries for creating the Personal Librarian program!

04/21/15 ecr