Demystifying the Library: Student and Research Success
University Libraries is the place for student success. There, students can study, tap into a database for a journal article, get a book, 3D print, grab coffee, have a dance party, participate in the Halloween Costume Contest ... wait, is this still about the library? Yes, yes it is.
Kent State Today takes a deeper look into University Libraries in a three-part series about Demystifying the Library for students. Part one was about the Student Multimedia Services. Part two covers the numerous ways the library can help students succeed – and have fun while doing it.
Student and Research Success
All Kent State students take Flashes 101, a class focusing on transitioning from high school to college. A portion of this course is about the services, tools and features Kent State has to offer.
Jasmine Jefferson, assistant professor and first-year experience librarian, teaches students about the various resources and departments in Kent State’s library.
“I introduce first-year students to the resources that we have available for them, as well as our spaces,” Jefferson said. “I also get them comfortable with conducting library research that they’ll need to do for their future papers and projects.”
Flashes 101 gives students a tour and a general breakdown of the library's resources. The library offers an expansive number of online sources and books on various topics.
“One of our most important services that we have is our one-on-one sessions with students. So, say you’re in a geography class, you have to do a presentation and you need several resources. You can meet with a librarian who is the subject specialist for that area one-on-one,” Jefferson said. “They’ll help you find the resources you need. I think that’s an underutilized resource that a lot of students don’t know about.”
To help students feel more comfortable, the library hosts social events throughout the semester.
“Our famous Late Night at the Library party happens during kickoff week,” Jefferson said. “It’s just a party to get students acclimated to our library spaces and possibly introduce them to some of our student employees, faculty and staff.”
Annually, there’s the University Libraries’ Halloween Party. The party gives students the opportunity to dress up and enjoy some holiday festivities. The library also hosts stress-free events during finals week to give students a break from studying.
“We know that the library is a large building, and if you don’t know your way around or you don’t know anyone here, it can be difficult for some students to come and ask for help,” said Jefferson. “Our hope is that if we meet students in a low-pressure setting, it might be easier for them to come back and ask for help in the future.”
At the end of the day, Kent State librarians and staff have the goal of providing students with the tools they need to succeed in their courses and future endeavors.
The library has many valuable services, but Beate Gersch, assistant dean for student and research success, says the best service is the librarians themselves.
“We have a team of wonderful librarians,” Gersch said, “with expertise in various subject areas, statistical consulting, copyright, digital projects, data management and visualization, as well as multimedia and special collections.”
Students’ best bet for getting their questions answered is to go to the Service Desk. There, the librarians can connect students to library and subject liaisons, a team of faculty with expertise in various subject areas. Any student can benefit from the services desk.
“You can also pick up materials, borrow a camera, or even ask for a Kleenex,” Gersch said. “The services desk is the human link to the resources we have. No question is too small or too big.”
Libraries have changed from what they were before, not only since the pandemic but throughout the past decades. Now, libraries focus on how to meet the student’s needs from where they are.
“There has been a shift toward more user-centered services and spaces,” Gersch said. “We work with students at any level, first-year to Ph.D. to postdoctoral, and fulfill their needs with the services and resources we have to offer.”
The tallest building in Portage Country is full of resources to explore, librarians to help, and moments of fun. If anyone hasn't now is the time to check some of these out.
"My colleagues have given an overview of how each of their areas contributes to the quality education at Kent State," Ken Burhanna, professor and dean of University Libraries, said."Though there has been a lot of information covered, we have barely scratched the surface of all that University Libraries has to offer."
Part three of Demystifying the Library will cover Special Collections and Archives and Dean Burhanna will provide other suggestions for how to get the most out of your library.