Archer Library Pilots Personal Librarian Project

By Everett Dorma Posted: September 19, 2018 3:40 p.m.

(L-R) Morgan Esperance, journalism student, Annie Charles, Aboriginal Student Centre, and Brad Doerksen, Student Success Librarian
(L-R) Morgan Esperance, journalism student, Annie Charles, Aboriginal Student Centre, and Brad Doerksen, Student Success Librarian Photo: U of R Photography

The Dr. John Archer Library at the University’s main campus is piloting a project to connect with first year students who have self-identified as Indigenous.

“This pilot is trying to address what’s known as library anxiety,” says Brad Doerksen, Student Success Librarian. “Many students are not familiar with the library and all of the resources we can provide. We know it can seem like an impersonal and intimidating place, particularly for new students.

“In order to make connecting with us easier and less intimidating, the librarians will take the first step and reach out to individual first year indigenous students via email, introduce themselves, and provide information about the library and other resources available. Students will be invited to set up an appointment to meet.”

“I think this is a great opportunity for first year students to connect with the librarians on a personal level,” says Cheyanne Desnomie, Manager Aboriginal Student Centre.  “For students coming to the University for the first time having a personal connection to the library can really help lessen the intimidation factor.”

There are 9 librarians from the Archer, Campion, and Luther libraries who are participating in the project and approximately 270 indigenous students will be contacted this year.  Each librarian will be assigned a number of students and will send them three emails in the Fall semester and three in the Winter. The emails will cover topics such as an introduction to Quickfind, assistance with assignments, help-desk, study space, as well as other resources the University has available such as counselling services and stress management.

The Aboriginal Student Centre is involved in the project by identifying the students, letting the students know they will be contacted and working with the library staff to ensure the information being sent out aligns with their goals and services.

The pilot project is set to run for two years after which it will be evaluated and if successful could be expanded to other student groups such as international students.