Skip to main content

Engaging Differences Library Research Lab

An introduction to college level research.

photo of librarians kris, heidi, and marissa standing outside under trees

Just what do librarians do anyway?

If you have ever asked this question or wondered how librarians spend their time, you're not alone. It's clear that the daily tasks of librarianship are a mystery to many. A lot of people think librarians just read all day, check out books, only taking time to go and shush patrons who are too noisy.

While shelving books and reading all day sounds like a luxury to many librarians, the truth is librarians have a wide variety of tasks that all focus on organizing, retrieving, sharing, and maintaining information and information systems. Information, use and creation, in all its shapes and forms, is what we love. 

How does someone become a Librarian?

Librarians are required to have a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree. This degree teaches us how to:

  • organize information
  • find and retrieve information and teach others these skills
  • select resources for research 
  • handle information ethically
  • preserve information for the future

How do librarians support student learning?

Here at Loras, the academic faculty librarians do many things. Helping to support faculty, staff, and students, however, is the underlying aim to all that they do. What exactly does that look like? Well, when working with students it means that academic librarians help students to... 

  • learn how to use and navigate through the library's database and catalogs
  • find and evaluate credible information from a variety of print and online sources (including how to use Google more effectively)
  • figure out where information is stored and how to efficiently access it and use it effectively in projects, including essays and presentations
  • create citations and learn other ways to avoid plagiarism
  • think about information in the context of the wider world

What made you want to become a librarian?  

I have loved to read since I was a little girl especially historical fiction. After going to college for a history degree, I found I wanted to combine my love of history and reading. I also love working with people as a social butterfly and extrovert but did not want to a teacher or professor. My job as librarian helped me combine all my loves into one great job.

What's your favorite part of the job?

Helping students find research for their papers. I love seeing the lightbulb go on when a student stumbles on great information or source.  I also enjoy helping students realize they can write this paper and will do a great job.

What's one thing you want students to know?

Don’t be scared to ask for help. It’s what we are here for. We love finding information in very obscure places.

What are your favorite books or authors?   

The Beast’s Garden- Kate Forsyth

Beatriz Williams

Kristen Smith

What made you want to become a librarian?  

I loved doing research in college, so the idea germinated and started growing as I progressed through my college years. Also, the profession embodies some of the values I hold dear, such as advocating for access to information, and the joys of life-long learning.

What's your favorite part of the job?

Connecting the library user (student, staff, faculty or anyone else) with the perfect book/article/fact/argument/idea to accomplish the task they’re working on.

What's one thing you want students to know?

We’re here to help! Don’t hesitate to ask.

What are your favorite books or authors?   

This is a moving target, to some extent. I read a lot in the mystery genre, but I think my favorite book is still Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry (4th Floor  813.54 M229).

photo of Heidi Pettitt

What made you want to become a librarian?  

During High School I worked at my local public library to pay for my horse habit, but eventually I realized I was more passionate about organizing information and helping people find what they needed to answer their questions.

What's your favorite part of the job?

There are many things I love about being a Librarian, I get to work surrounded by books and creating the perfect dewey number, are prime examples, but my very favorite thing is introducing students to the amazing books we have in Special Collections and helping them experience history through physical objects.

What's one thing you want students to know?

We are here to help! We love answering questions and helping people find exactly what they need.

What are your favorite books or authors?   

I mostly read science fiction and fantasy and right now I'm reading and enjoying N. K. Jemisin and Naomi Novik, but my go-to when I'm stressed is Tamora Pierce or Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald-Mage trilogy.

Creative Commons License

Unless otherwise noted, the content of these guides by Loras College Library, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Some icons by Yusuke Kamiyamane. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.