[Library Letter] Libraries and college: Where to start for success

2 min read186 views and 49 shares Posted August 18, 2020

In partnership with the Lebanon County Library Association, LebTown is proud to introduce “Library Letters,” a series of columns about the programming, people, and possibilities offered by libraries around the county.

Today’s letter is from Maureen Bentz, Interim Director of the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library at Lebanon Valley College.

The start of the Fall 2020 semester is likely not what students and their parents imagined when they first started planning for a college education. As you or your student navigate online, in person, or hybrid higher education options, do not forget to take advantage of an often-overlooked resource—the college or university library. Libraries are at the center of the academic experience and offer in-person and online services to connect students with the information they need.

At Lebanon Valley College’s Vernon and Doris Bishop Library, we offer physical and digital collections, services, and spaces to enable academic success. People often think of libraries as row after row of bookshelves, but modern libraries foster collaborative learning and provide distraction-free study spaces. At Bishop Library, different floors are designated for collaboration or quiet study. In light of COVID-19, the use of these collections and all our spaces will be very different this year. Much like our public library peers, we quarantine returned materials, reconfigured, and relocated seating and some services to promote physical distancing and require masks. However, college librarians will continue to assist students, as they always do, in understanding the creation of information, its value, and how to navigate the research process.

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At Bishop Library, librarians are available to help students in many ways. We provide classroom instruction sessions (in-person or online), which are embedded in the college curriculum. In addition, we offer a variety of other services.

  • Our Ask-A-Librarian service allows students to ask quick questions via text, email, or phone.
  • The Book-A-Librarian service enables students to set up an online or in person one-on-one consultation for in-depth help.
  • Librarians also assist with search strategies when students have difficulty navigating the 175+ databases the library owns.
  • We have created more than 95 online research guides that highlight relevant resources for specific courses or majors. These guides outline basics like How to Write a Research Paper, How to Cite, and How to Avoid Plagiarism, and get specific when it comes to departmental topics like Business Plans, Evidence Based Practice, and Crime and Criminals. Our research guides guarantee that students can still find these helpful resources—even if it is 2 a.m. since most librarians do not function nocturnally.

In the ever-changing information landscape, librarians are specially trained to assist students in finding quality resources for their challenging assignments and providing guidance on how to critically evaluate information and use it ethically. 

Time spent in the library or with librarians has a positive impact on student success. We point out that library consultations will save students time. Students who learn how to find and use better resources will write stronger papers and earn higher grades.

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