Home Arts and Life Pointers from the Poynter: Know your library

Pointers from the Poynter: Know your library


Top Shelf: Kaya van Beynen (left), the department head of Library Research & Instruction and Catherine Cardwell (right), the dean of Nelson Poynter, are prominent members of the library staff. They’re happy to help students and welcome feedback about how the library can improve. [WHITNEY ELFSTROM | THE CROW’S NEST]
Beanbag chairs, a perfect view of Bayboro Harbor and all the help one needs on their research paper. What more could a student want?

If anything comes to mind there is a suggestion board on the first floor of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library. Little notes reading: coffee shop, extended hours and more study rooms were left by students already.

“We’re always interested in hearing from students and faculty. We’re always striving to improve. We’re willing to work with students — if they have an idea we’re willing to try,” said Kaya van Beynen, the department head of Library Research & Instruction.

Library resources enrich any academic experience and they can lighten the burden of studying, writing research papers and group meetings. The librarians on staff are well acquainted with these resources and more than willing to provide students with guidance.

Students are usually introduced to the library in the introductory classes of their major or the mandatory first-year experience class for on-campus freshmen, but for students who might have slipped through the cracks, there’s another option.

Students are able to stop into the library and ask for research help at any time. For students with more in-depth questions, they can schedule an appointment with a librarian. Each major is assigned to a research librarian that specializes in the field.

If a student is unable to make it onto campus for help, they can take to the online world. The library webpage is equipped with an online chat room that allows students to speak with a librarian any day of the week.

Helpful tutorials on everything from APA to Refworks are located on the USFSP Nelson Poynter Memorial Library Youtube channel. Here students are also able to find academic talks from faculty and staff. A few examples include “Colonialism and Ethnic Violence,” as well as “Orange is the New Black and Media Coverage of Prison.”

Over 200,000 books line the aisles of the Nelson Poynter Library. If among the thousands of books on file you’re not able to find what you need, Nelson Poynter is also a part of the interlibrary loan service where the librarians can find the book you need at another college and have it shipped to you free of charge.

Through the library, students are able to loan out laptops and textbooks. MacBooks and HP computers are available for three hours at a time but if that’s not sufficient, students are able to check a laptop out again later in the day.

Textbooks also follow a three-hour time limit but students are able to photocopy or scan the chapters that they need.

Books and research help are not the only things that the library has to offer. Nelson Poynter also holds a variety of events from academic panels to movie nights. The staff finds interest in events that take on diverse viewpoints.

“One of the missions of the library is to expand people’s horizons and of course to support their classroom and their studying. It is also a place to get exposed to new ideas and hear different perspectives,” explained Catherine Cardwell, the dean of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library.

The library is currently in the process of doing strategic planning and van Beynen is interested in enlisting students to help give the library a fresh look. She will hold student focus groups beginning the week of March 27.

Three different focus groups will be in play: one for commuter students, residential students and graduate students. Anyone who’s interested in being a part of revamping the library may contact van Beynen.

Cardwell hopes to bring a student help tech center to the library, much like the Student Success Center. It would be run by peer assistants who help students with technology. Rather than fixing computers as the name might imply, this would be a center that helps students learn to use technology and software such as Excel or Prezi.

“The [librarians] are here to help [students] with their research and just getting acclimated to the library. It doesn’t always need to be for a research project, per say, but we’re a resource in lots of different ways such as how to get people to the right information,” said Cardwell.


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