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Knightly News Campus Spotlight on Reference Librarian Emily Reed

‘It’s all about availability to students.’

By Norman Geary

Media Club Reporter


Imagine you attend a small college in Central Pennsylvania.

You’re one of about 1,100 students.

It has a high-quality library staffed by several expert librarians, one of whom is dedicated to instruction and reference.

Yes, it’s Central Penn College.

And, as some of you may know, that librarian is Emily Reed.

Reed attended Taylor University, Muncie, Ind., where she earned her undergraduate degree in music education. She also holds a master’s degree in library information science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Six months after she graduated from Pitt, Reed got a call from Central Penn College, and accepted the offer to be the school’s instruction and reference librarian. She started last spring.

Reed sat down recently with Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College to talk about what she does, and why.

Knightly News:  What was it like when you received the call from Central Penn College that you would be the instruction and reference librarian?

Reed: I was so excited! I was just ecstatic. I could not wait to come here, to just start.

On any day, Reed faces many challenges assisting students. Central Penn students come from various backgrounds and stages in life, and not all are of traditional college age, so Reed is available to all students, including adult learners.

Central Penn College's Reference Librarian Emily Reed.  Photo by Norman Geary

Central Penn College’s Reference Librarian Emily Reed. Photo by Norman Geary

Knightly News: As far as projects, what is a standard day like for you? Please explain getting ready for the students.

Reed: We have online guides, and each online guide is pinpointed to that major. Each major has a subject guide that gives tips about researching just for that major. We also have a variety of online resources, and some resources are better for certain majors. Then you have instructional sessions, which will instruct students how to use the database that make the most sense for that major. Then we show them the subject guides for that major, so they know what supporting materials are available to them, to guide them to help that is specific to that major.

Reed also conducts seminars on APA (American Psychological Association) format, along with many other projects.

Knightly News: Tell us more about you getting ready for the instructional sessions that you conduct at the library.

Reed: So, for whatever session I am preparing, I have a lesson plan that I develop. I base that lesson plan on whatever those faculty members and I talked about, because every session is different. So sometimes, a faculty member will say, “I’m giving my student an assignment. Can you go over APA formatting for that assignment?”  And in that case, I will teach about APA formatting.  Some students will want APA formatting and citations, which is the whole shebang. And this process takes about an hour – to do the citation and formatting lesson. It just depends on what that faculty member wants.

Knightly News: How do you make adjustments in your day to accommodate student and faculty needs, given you have only so much time?

Reed: As librarians, a large part of our job is availability. Being available to answer questions, and spend that quality time helping students with … assignment(s). So, we have ongoing projects we have to complete, but our first priority is the student’s success. And whatever you need, we will assist you when it comes to research and assignments.

The Knightly News encourages our students, regardless of delivery method, to seek out Emily for help with research.  Remember, there are always plenty of ways to contact the library.  Find out more information at their library website at:  http://www.centralpenn.edu/college-services/library/

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