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Libraries and the Art of Reliable Research

Two students look for books in the library.

Shh! They’re hunting research materials….

Welcome to February readers! February is one of my favorite months, not just because it contains Groundhog’s Day (the inspiration for that fantastic Bill Murray film) or even because my birthday is this month (which, unfortunately, Bill Murray will not be attending). February is a fantastic month because… wait for it… it’s Library Lovers Month! Hooray!!

For college students the library is one of the greatest resources we have at our disposal, so now is the perfect time to pay it proper tribute. At some point in your college career you’ll likely find yourself holed up in a corner and simultaneously sinking into study-despair and a beanbag chair all at once. At times like this it’s important to realize that a library isn’t merely a big building with books in it; it’s really a hub of information tailored to our needs as academics in training.

A lot of what a student does boils down to research, whether it be by browsing through online literary databases, collecting statistics from old biology journals or the classic, wading through piles of books. Though many of your professors will likely give you a head-start on your inevitable research projects, sometimes you just have to figure out on your own where to find smoking statistics from Indiana in the mid 1960’s.

Seriously. It has happened.

Luckily for your sanity, we have one of the greatest possible resources available right on the first floor of our own Darrell W. Krueger library research librarians at your service.

Even if you have all the journals in the world available in an instant on your laptop, it’s still up to you to determine what’s relevant, recent and research worthy. The internet is an ocean of endless information and it’s easy to be swept along by its current. That’s where the reference librarians come in; they are specially trained in pointing you in the right direction. There is no appointment required (though you’re always welcome to set something up) but for almost eight hours a day there are librarians sitting at the reference desk prepared to lend you a boat and teach you to paddle.

Was that too many ocean metaphors? I digress.

I’ve been working at the WSU library since the start of last semester and I’ve seen firsthand how our reference librarians work hard to make sure each student is properly assisted. If you’re stuck getting a project started (or finished) they are prepared and endlessly willing to help you out.

Google is a great tool, but it can’t do everything a living, breathing librarian can. When the world of research starts looking a little too big, you can rely on them to help narrow your focus and get you to the next step.

The Reference desk’s schedule is as follows:

  • Monday-Thursday 10am-8pm
  • Friday (Librarian on-call) 10am-4pm
  • Saturday (Librarian on-call) 10am-6pm
  • Sunday 1pm-8pm

Happy Library Lovers Month and Happy February!

–Sophie Kaplan

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