Library Matters / Libraries Matter: A Teaching Library

Posted on March 12th, 2018 by

Asking questions and seeking help is the mark of a good researcher. When you start your research – or even midway through – you won’t know everything about your topic or how information is organized in your field. Librarians won’t know everything about your topic, either, but we do know how to navigate complex information systems. Even better – we know how to teach you how to navigate those systems effectively, too.

This is why we are a teaching library. This is why our mission talks about teaching you to use, interpret and evaluate information.  This is also why we are an academic department and why our librarians are full members of the faculty. We teach you how to do research well.

Our entire operation is focused on teaching; all library employees and areas work to give you access to materials, to make sure systems are running smoothly, and to ensure that you have the best research experience we can provide.

What we do is part of a broader mission, one known as information literacy, a clunky term that refers to the skills and mindsets that people need not just to succeed as students, but to be informed participants in society. Information literacy is what we mean when we say Gustavus develops within students “a capacity and passion for lifelong learning.”

Do the Library do this perfectly or fully? Of course not. We know we don’t reach every student at every point of need. We know that our vision outpaces our capacities and resources. Yet we also know that developing information literacy and teaching research well is a partnership, one we proudly share with our faculty colleagues across campus. We are part of the entire academic enterprise that helps you grow as an individual and a scholar.

So the next time you’re stuck doing a research project – or just want to chat about your research – come to the library (or call or email or fill out a convenient form). It is our job to help you do research well.

This post is part of the Library Matters/Libraries Matter blog series



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