Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Library Services Save the Day (and Night!)

Starting a research assignment can be intimidating. Formulating search strategies and finding relevant, reliable sources for a paper or other project can seem overwhelming to students who have never done it before.

Rio Salado College and the Maricopa County Community College District libraries offer several services to help students navigate the library systems, find information and properly cite sources. 

Ask a Librarian
The Ask a Librarian services provide students with 24 hour access to a live librarian who can answer questions about online and in-person research tools, provide links to additional information and direct students to the proper resources.
"Rio students don't always have a traditional schedule, so they love that there is a librarian on call 24/7," said Karen Docherty, Rio Salado College librarian. "The chat service is designed to be convenient and easy to use. It doesn't matter if it's six in the morning before they go to work or 11 at night after they get the kids to bed. All that's needed is a computer and Internet access to connect to the service and start chatting with a librarian."

Txt a Librarian
Students can also contact a librarian by SMS text message. The Txt a Librarian service uses a secure third party program to anonymously connect users with a Maricopa district librarian. When a student texts "RioLib" to 66746, their phone number is converted to a Rio Salado user ID that lets the librarian respond without viewing any personal information.

"Respecting the student's privacy is really important to us," said Rio Salado Librarian Janelle Underhill. "We want students to use these services with confidence. We want them to know that we aren't collecting phone numbers or anything like that. Our only goal is to help students find the information they need."

Online Writing Lab (OWL)
In addition to 24-hour research assistance, Rio Salado students can also take advantage of the library's online writing lab

OWL provides students with a wealth of information, tips and tricks to help them write at a college level. The "Writing Rubric" section covers basic elements such as sentence structure, organization and content. Other sections like "General Writing" and "Critical Thinking" cover topics such as evaluating and citing sources, paraphrasing and quoting, as well as more advanced topics like analysis, inference, and reasoning. 

How Do I? Video Series
There are also quite a few video tutorials available in the "How Do I...?" section of the Rio Salado College Library web pages. The tutorials cover everything from basics like logging in or accessing an e-book to using library databases.



"The tutorial videos are a great tool to help students who prefer to do things independently," Underhill said. "They walk the viewer step by step through each process. They're very easy to follow."

In-Class Visits
Many course instructors invite Rio Salado librarians to visit their classes and teach students how to formulate search strategies and to use library databases to find relevant and reliable journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, books, and media (such as images and streaming films).

District Library Services
All MCCCD libraries offer free in-person, phone, Txt a Librarian and Preg├║ntele al Bibliotecario (Chat en Espa├▒ol) services. These services are available to MCCCD students, faculty and staff. To get help from a librarian now, visit www.maricopa.edu/lts/ask.

Post a Comment