How do I use the Library – Expert Staff

Librarian assisting child at computerMany librarians are experts in their field or specialization and are available to help you.

Libraries are staffed with experts who are available to help you find the information you need. If you think a librarian’s job is simply to stamp due dates into books and swipe library cards, think again. They act as knowledge navigators to ensure patrons are on the right track when they visit the library.

Who’s @ Your Library?
In a library, you may find several different types of librarians, in addition to a well-trained support staff.

Research librarians will help you map out a search effort, while instructional librarians teach you how to access materials. Acquisitions and collections librarians work with one another to obtain new materials and develop existing collections. Children’s librarians are experts in early childhood learning. Some librarians have expertise in specific fields like music or medical science, while others specialize in catalog management. Most librarians have specialties that dictate the type of library they work in—public, academic, school or corporate libraries.

Not every person who works in a library is a librarian. Other members of a library’s staff include pages, assistants, managers and directors. A page is usually an entry-level employee who is mainly responsible for re-shelving and organizing books and other materials. Library assistants help patrons check out items, process new materials and issue library cards. Managers and directors are highly experienced librarians who oversee the entire operation and make sure the library is effectively helping its users. Libraries can also employ public relations professionals, information-technology experts, and programming and exhibit staff.

How Can Librarians Help Me?
Librarians can offer you first-hand advice and help narrow down your search to a few authoritative resources. A major part of a librarian’s duties is to provide you with open access to all types of information in various mediums, such as microfilm, periodicals, reference materials and audio recordings. Librarians are experts at research and will use their expertise to help you find what you need.

The neat rows of book stacks, perfectly organized by category and call number, are no accident. Librarians are there to organize the library’s resources in a way that is easy to access for visitors. Librarians are also responsible for cataloging all library resources, so it’s easier for visitors to navigate and search for information. And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, a librarian is there to guide you.

Librarians are also experts when it comes to working with technology. They are trained to comb through the plethora of information available on the Internet. They can help you find information and determine which Web sites are most reliable.

Make the Most of Your Librarian
When researching a topic, you can start by accessing the library’s catalog from a computer at home or at your local library. From there, learn what types of resources your library has to offer. Visit the Web sites of libraries across the country and around the world to learn about the preservation and dissemination of cultural heritage that libraries represent.

When you get to your local library, let your librarian know what you’re looking for and list all the topics you’re researching—no matter how specific or broad. A librarian is there to help guide your search, offer you advice and help you develop your own research skills.

All you have to do is ask.