Need a place to study? Have a question about reliable sources? Want some help getting started on that research paper? Ready to spend an afternoon with a bestseller or new release movie?
Wofford College wants to Sandor Teszler Library to be a “go-to” place for students… and developing a relationship with the library early can build a base for student success. That’s the goal of the “myLibrarian” program.
As part of the program, each member of the Class of 2019 will receive a personal librarian.
“It’s the personal approach that we pride ourselves on and do well here at Wofford,” says Dean of the Library Kevin Reynolds. “We anticipate this going both ways. We don’t plan to just sit here and wait for people to show up or emails to roll in. We are planning a communication schedule to reach out to our students and give helpful, timely information, reinforce our availability, that sort of thing.”
According to Reynolds, each librarian will serve about 60 students.
“That’s a lot, and it’s a bit of a risk, but a risk we’re willing to take,” he says. “We think this is important enough that we’re willing to try to be even more available to these new students.”
Research Librarian Tim Brown realizes that the new initiative could add work as well as the necessity for time and additional energy.
“The idea is to create as many opportunities as possible for contact between the librarian and student. The college already offers first-year Orientation, the walk through the library, Humanities 101 and English 102, but to have a person you know you can go to, message or call — a person whose face you recognize – its goes a long way towards bridging any gulf that may exist between the library and the incoming students.”
Personal librarians will email each student before they arrive on campus in the fall. They also will touch base periodically and hopefully find time to meet for lunch or coffee. It’s all about offering a greater continuum of support.
“Students talk a lot about electronic devices, technology, mobile devices, etc., but they also routinely comment on how important it is to have that face-to-face. There are just certain aspects to the human dynamic that you cannot replicate remotely,” says Brown. “I’m finding too, with my work as an academic adviser, that those relationships you create in the first two or three semesters are invaluable. The students are looking for people with whom they can share or explore ideas, and to realize that the librarian is a person you can come to without having your ducks in a row is invaluable.”
Both Reynolds and Brown believe that this new program definitely will boost student success.
In addition to the myLibrarian program, the college is launching student success teams with the Class of 2019. These teams include a member of the faculty who will serve as the academic adviser, a professional staff member who can help answer questions over the summer and who will serve as a sounding board during the semester, and a current Wofford student who will serve the role of peer mentor. Each success team will have no more than eight incoming students.
by Sarah Madden ’17