The fourth week of the fall semester is approaching and students’ workload is undoubtedly getting more challenging. First year students might not be aware that there is a variety of under-utilized resources available to them at Dimond Library.
Tara Lynn Fulton has served as the dean of the university library system since May 2015. Prior to this, she served as the library dean at Eastern Michigan University for five years.
“Regardless of what kind of information students need, the librarians are here to help you find materials,” Fulton said. “I basically provide leadership for the university libraries: strategic planning, all of the collection resources and the facilities.”
The first and most efficient resource available to students is the Chat Reference Services, which can be found on the “Research Support” page of the UNH Library website.
“If you are in your dorm room doing research and you suddenly get stuck, you can chat with a reference librarian and they will help guide you to find the appropriate resources,” Fulton said. “You would basically be texting with a reference librarian,” she said in describing the service’s efficiency.
Also available to students are a variety of subject librarians that work with particular academic departments. “We have about 15 subject librarians,” Fulton said.
The subject librarians are particularly helpful for students working on a group project. “Your group could make an appointment with the subject librarian, and he or she would show you how to do the research to find all of the different angles on that topic,” Fulton said. Students can arrange appointments with a subject librarian either by visiting the reference desk or by setting up an appointment through the UNH Library website.
Another useful service that the Dimond Library provides is the multi-media room, which is currently undergoing renovations.
“We recently had a donor provide money to the library and we are using some of that money to redo the viewing room,” Fulton said. “We also have a brand new video streaming service, and you would actually find those through the online catalog.”
The library system can also help students prepare for the Undergraduate Research Conference in April. “Mentors of students will often ask a subject librarian or a reference person to work with the students to find sources. We also help a little bit with getting the students’ posters organized,” Fulton said.
Dimond Library has also hired a new librarian: Benjamin Peck. Peck has a master＊s degree in library science from Indiana University, and he was previously a library instructor for four years at Pace University in Manhattan.
Peck originally wanted to be a music librarian, given his love of music. “I’m a singer, I sing in chorus, and I was a music major in college. But there are limited opportunities for music librarians,” he said.
Eventually, Peck got hired by UNH while looking for jobs in the Northeast. “After visiting UNH for my interview, I felt like it was a perfect fit for me personally as well as professionally,” he said.
Peck’s title is First-Year Instructional Librarian, and he works with first year students in English composition classes, primarily English 401. His job is to teach students foundational research skills, as well as how to use the library research tools and develop information literacy.
“I work with students to develop their critical thinking skills, especially regarding information sources. A lot of students come in with this idea that because we have access to so much information, they think research is going to be very easy. But the challenge lies in how you locate relevant information efficiently,” Peck said.
The library system has a variety of wonderful resources that can help students with whatever challenges they face. “And we do all kinds of other things that students may not expect,” Fulton said. “Did you know that we circulate umbrellas in the library?” The UNH Library system clearly goes above and beyond for its students.