Destined to be a classic
The Jerry Falwell Library adds new programs and upgrades its research
services, becomes nationally recognized as a “landmark” university library
The Jerry Falwell Library constantly equips students with new research programs and resources, contributing to its honorable mention in the Library Journal as a “landmark” library and “destined to be
“We were honored in that mainly because of our user-centered design,” Cindy Schmidt, head of communication and customer service, said. “We tried to be conscious of every single detail. The building is beautiful, but we wanted to make sure not only was it beautiful but it was functional and meeting the students’ needs.”
Schmidt said she wants to make sure the students are getting the assistance they need during their time at Liberty.
“We’re always evaluating the services we provide in the library to see what’s working, what isn’t (and) what do students need that we aren’t providing that we can,” Schmidt said. “We can’t always provide everything they want, but we try to as best we can within our mission.”
Such services include research workshops where, according to the Jerry Falwell Library’s website, students are able to learn about a variety of topics if they need help with conducting effective research.
Upcoming workshop topics include how to properly format an APA-styled paper, an overview of research terminology, and an introduction in theological research.
Research workshops take place every Wednesday and Thursday and usually in the library, room 171.
Students are able to attend in person, or they can stream the workshop on their computer.
“Every semester we offer about 30 workshops,” Schmidt said. “We have everything from basic intro … all the way up to how to do a detailed literature review for your dissertation or thesis — all different range of topics and ability levels. … We also live stream them … and record them.”
If a student is unable to attend a workshop and still needs assistance, the library also allows students to ask questions and receive research assistance through multiple avenues.
A student can chat online with a research consultant, call to receive immediate help or email questions that will be answered by a consultant within 48 hours.
Research guides are also available to students who are unsure where to start in finding relevant information for an assignment.
Research guides are pages created by librarians to help students navigate library resources.
The guides cover a variety of topics and are sorted by 26 different subjects on the library’s website.
A typical research guide will include a list of e-books, journals and databases that are tailored to the specific topic a student is researching.
They were created to collect information about a particular subject onto one easily accessible page that students can use at any time.
Along with the research guides, tutorials are available each semester.
Since the opening of the library in 2014, there have been many efforts to promote and market the changes, according to Schmidt. However, not as many students are aware of the changes as she would like.
“I think they could have done a better job honestly,” Emily Hayden, a junior at Liberty, said concerning the library’s attempts to educate students on their resources. “Other than the fact that I study there, that’s all I really know about it.”
Schmidt said she believes they are competing with so much other information it is hard to get their voice heard.
“I think part of the problem is that students are just on information overload,” Schmidt said. “You are constantly being bombarded with messages. … People are just busy, and it’s so hard for them to take the time to learn about new things or get their attention.”
Despite the marketing challenge, the library offers assistance through various venues both digitally and in print.
“I really think the research assistance we provide and all the different ways we provide it is one of the things that really makes the biggest impact,” Schmidt said. “Our mission as a library organization is to support the teaching, learning and research of the students and faculty. … Students can get overwhelmed, so there are a lot of different things we have in place to help with that.”
According to Schmidt, the library strives to create a good customer service presence while also making each student feel comfortable with its resources.
“I think what makes our library stand out isn’t so much the building — I think it’s the people,” Schmidt said. “I think it’s the customer service and the dedication and commitment we have to really helping the students succeed.”
CONLEY is a news reporter