– Do You Use the Library?
On April 27, 2015 (end of winter semester), the University of Michigan-Flint academic unit, the Department of Nursing, asked their students to answer a few simple questions regarding their personal experience using the Thompson Library.
The undergrad students and graduate students were each surveyed separately.
Not surprisingly, the students overwhelmingly responded that they DID use the Thompson Library, and that it provided the resources they needed to meet their educational goals.
Then the questions became a little more specific. HOW did the students use the library? And WHAT did they use the library to do?
The nursing students indicated that, while many loved the library building, the majority of them used the extensive online resources provided by Thompson Library when conducting their research.
Many, in fact, noted that they were “distance education students” who rarely (if ever) came to the UM-Flint campus physically. Even so, as one student put it, they were “able to access almost everything needed online.”
Several noted the assistance of librarians as a tremendous asset which helped them.
One student mentioned sitting down with a librarian to “go over some database inquiry” strategies, commenting that the “hints and tips” the librarians shared were invaluable in helping them complete their research projects.
While such comments naturally make us blush with pleasure, it was with great sadness we read comments indicating a student had not asked for help from the librarians and didn’t realize there existed several options available to them.
One student particularly tugged at our professional heartstrings with this comment:
“I am an online student and live far from campus. It is frustrating when my literature search indicates that an article exists, but I am not able to access it online.”
While this student may have hit a wall and stopped, a librarian would have been able to show the student that we (the Thompson Library) have access to some journals in many different databases simultaneously.
And though one database may not offer an article’s full text, another might. A simple search would have determined the status for any journal title.
(Hint: Use JOURNAL TITLES tab at the top of the library website to determine subscription status of any journal, along with links to ALL databases which carry that journal.)
Plus, a librarian would point out, any journal we do NOT have access to (either in print or full text online), we can get by using InterLibrary Loan (an online order form is available on our library website).
Using ILL, our patrons will usually get the full text of the article they request – delivered to them online – within 1 to 3 days.
Another student lamented that she LOVED the library and she LOVED having online access, but that she wished she could continue getting access to the library resources after she graduated.
While it’s true that alums don’t have off-campus (remote) access to Thompson Library databases, there ARE options available to our graduates who loved having access to the University of Michigan library via their computer.
Any student who joins the UM Alumni Association will get online access to several of the major research databases through the Alumni Association website. But joining IS required. Database access is just one of the many benefits of being a University of Michigan alum!
And of course, anyone may enter our library building and read the books on shelf at any time. What better place to sit and quietly read then the Thompson Library atrium?
Then there was the student with the very valid complain that strikes to the heart of all our library staff.
“Love the library. My only complaint is that I wish there was closer parking on the weekends.”
We feel your pain! After all, both our librarians and library staff all have to park in the ramps, too. It’s a hike. But SO worth it!
For those students that worry about walking to and from the library and their cars after dark, please remember that Public Safety offers an escort service at all hours.
Request an escort by using the emergency box phones (all over campus; the red boxes under the blue lights). There are even 3 of these call boxes inside the library – one on each floor. It’s free, and it’s easy to request.
Both the Library and the Department of Public Safety want you to be safe, and requesting an escort is a great way to ensure your safety.
And one of our favorite comments on the survey was the last one:
“Appreciate the ‘text-a-librarian-for-questions’ option.” [the live chat feature]
Yes, that’s right.
You can – at any time – ask a librarian for help.
The librarians, after all, are the best research tool available in our library. They can help you better understand how to work out a search request, suggest databases that might be appropriate to your search topic, and know all the various ways to get to the research you need.
Reviewing the survey results (many thanks to our Department of Nursing for sharing the survey with our librarians!), it sounds like most those students that responded had asked for – and received – help, and that they found the library easy to use and extremely helpful.
Which is precisely what we hope for with each and every researcher on our campus, whether they are students or faculty researchers. We understand, of course, that every library is organized differently and that no one knows how to use THIS library without some basic assistance.
That’s why our librarians are available for research assistance in many different venues.
ASK – A – LIBRARIAN
Check out our ASK – A – LIBRARIAN web page and see some of the options available to you when you need help.
• Find Librarians
What’s the name of a librarian that works with a specific department (such as Laura Friesen, who works with the Nursing, Physical Therapy and Health Care students and faculty, and was mentioned by name by one student who responded to this survey)?
We offer a list of names of all our librarians, along with their email, office address and office phone number.
Contact any of our librarians for help with that sticky question, or if you need some simple “how-to” help in navigating the library website, or a new and confusing database.
We’re there for you!
• Chat Online, Live
What about using the live chat (online assistance)? You can “talk” in real time with a librarian – live and online – directly from the Thompson Library website. AND – there’s usually a librarian monitoring the CHAT service from 9 am to 9 pm, Monday through Thursday, and till just before closing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
We can help walk you through the maze of databases, help you understand how a database works (to help you improve your searching capability) and help track down those obscure references.
We’re here for you!
• Phone Call
Prefer to talk to a real person? Call the Reference Desk – there will be a librarian answering that phone to help you with your research conundrums almost all hours the library is open.
• Schedule a Meeting with a Librarian for Personalized Help
Need a little more one-on-one assistance?
Contact one of our subject specialist librarians and ask to make an appointment to visit with them.
They can sit down with you in a quiet space and go over the best strategy to find the information you need.
What does the Thompson Library offer?
- How about 250,000 print books?
- Or access to the nearly 14 million print books in the UM Libraries in Ann Arbor.
- And no – you don’t have to drive to Ann Arbor to get them!
- We can have them shipped to Flint for you to pick up in our library).
Rather read a book online?
- You don’t even have to come to campus!
- We have half a million ebooks, available through our website, and easy to open and read – even from your home computer.
How about journal articles?
- We currently subscribe to over 80,000 journals, with many having back-issues available going several decades back, and many more in our current listings.
Do we offer access to newspapers?
- Yes – we have access to newspapers from all over the world!
- Full text, online newspapers, at that!
- And thanks to our historical newspapers collections, we have access to a select group of titles such titles as Washington Post going back to the early 1800s.
Books, scholarly journals, magazines, trade journals, newspapers, music CDs, DVDs and more
- We have an outstanding research collection available for everyone at University of Michigan-Flint.
- And the majority of that collection is available to our students, staff and faculty even though they don’t come to our library building; it’s online (full text).
If you need help learning how to use those databases, or want to know how to find books (or perhaps how to get a book from UM-Ann Arbor shipped to Flint so you can pick it up), or how to request a book we don’t even own, please — ask a librarian.
We’re there for you, and we’re here to help.
And should you one day walk through our doors, remember that our Reference Librarian is seated right by the entrance of our library (3rd floor, main entrance).
The students studying in the Nursing Program know the value of their library.
It’s proved its worth to them.
Now let us prove it to you.