The reference librarians here at the University of Mary Washington are also liaisons with faculty departments. I enjoy my work with the professors and students in the humanities (Art and Art History; Classics, Philosophy, and Religion; English, Linguistics and Communication; Historic Preservation; History and American Studies; Modern Foreign Languages; Music; and Theatre and Dance). Faculty in these disciplines frequently refer students to me, and it is especially gratifying to work with so many students throughout their entire college careers.
As Reference and Humanities Librarian at Simpson Library, I provide not only one-on-one assistance to students needing term paper help but also class instruction that covers both traditional print sources (reference books and indexes) as well as non-print works (electronic databases and World Wide Web resources). I believe that personal, tailor-made instruction is essential to library learning, so I base each class around the professor’s research assignment. These sessions must naturally change as new materials become available, and during the academic year I often exchange ideas with both faculty and students as to what they need from the Library for their classes. The faculty and I expect the students to become familiar with a diverse array of books, indexes, databases, and other resources. Towards that end, each semester I schedule instructional sessions in the Library classroom where I discuss reference works and techniques of research.
Throughout the year, students drop by to see me and ask questions about their papers. Of course, I enjoy seeing it all “come together” for them, and they become proud of their proficiency in research.
The other reference librarians have duties similar to mine, and we often share ideas and research techniques. On the Simpson Library home page are our various LibGuides. These have proven to be popular with students and faculty alike.
What particularly helps students, faculty, and librarians are the services that the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) offer. VIVA is a consortium of academic libraries in Virginia that provides shared access to numerous electronic information resources. It also promotes the coordination of collection development among these libraries.
Without a doubt, I reached the top of my professional career on April 14, 2010, when UMW President Richard V. Hurley presented me with the inaugural Richard V. and Rosemary A. Hurley Presidential Commendation for “exceptionally meritorious service to the University.” I was–and still am–extremely touched, honored, and humbled. I consider myself fortunate that after more than three decades here in the Library, I still look forward to coming to work every day.