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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

College libraries win prestigious award

By Kevin Hong

Grinnell College Libraries received the Excellence in Academic Libraries Award for their service to students from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

The ACRL commended Grinnell for its extensive mentoring services and research search engine training offered to students.

The ACRL awards a handful of higher education institutions the Excellence in Academic Libraries award for services the universities and colleges provide to the students and the community.

“Right now we have three different students that work at the reference desk,” explained Cecilia Knight, a Burling librarian, “They are very deeply trained, so they spend a lot of time learning how to find things, how to do things in the library.”

All of the librarians try to work closely with students. Richard Fyffe, Librarian of the College, emphasized the benefits of working in the library.

“Sometimes students work more independently, and we try to think of student jobs within the library as opportunities for learning, not just for making a wage. In the services that we provide to students, we see ourselves as teachers, and an extension to the educational program,” he said.

Biva Rajbhandari ’12, who works as a reference assistant in Burling, loves the mentor program and being able to help her peers.

“I really like working with people,” she said. “One of the best things is I learn a lot about research along the way.”

The literacy program is another advantage that makes Grinnell College libraries stand out against those of other colleges. First-semester students meet with the librarians as part of their first-year tutorial, representing the initial outreach that the library conducts to the College community. The library staff members also meet with upper level classes if a professor requests more information about specialized materials in the library.

“Kevin Engel in the Science Library will meet with all the Bio 150 classes to help the students with their research,” Knight said.

Another of Grinnell libraries’ noteworthy programs is the library lab. Students can schedule a library lab, which is an in-depth individual meeting. The idea is that librarians have time to do preliminary research ahead of time to be better prepared to assist students.

“The librarians and student staffs will provide relevant books, databases and other kinds of resource that can help you. They will also assist you to find more resources on your own. Not only give you a fish, but teach you to fish,” said Beth Bohstedt, Manager of Access Services for the College.

“We do a lot of things besides just provide books and sources and we need to make sure that students know that those things are out there.” Bohstedt said.

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