Published: April 22, 2019
A student asking for assistance at the Research Desk Area in Norlin Library.

As the spring semester nears its end, it can feel challenging for students finishing up papers, projects, and exams. Fortunately, the Libraries have resources and services that can help.

The Libraries offer personal research consultations to help students refine and focus their research topics, develop successful search strategies, and identify appropriate sources for academic research projects and assignments with librarians that cover over 50 subject areas.

Cynthia Keller is a learning coordinator with the Libraries’ Teaching & Learning Unit (TLU). She said it can be difficult for first-year students, whether they have or haven’t yet declared a major, to navigate the vast amount of resources out there that are best for a particular student.

“We want students to know that we are here to partner with them in exploration,” said Keller. “For first-year students, it can be a very confusing time, having to connect the dots between the variety of resources and new scholarly and academic structures. We want to acknowledge the uncertainties that they face and really demonstrate that the library values them as contributors in their undergraduate research.”

Daniel Johnston, a teaching and learning specialist with TLU, said that students working on a research paper or project should book a consultation, no matter how far along they are on their assignment. In fact, Johnston makes no assumption as to a student's level of preparation prior to a research consultation.

“We have students come in who have no sense of what they would like to write about and just want to bounce ideas off of someone,” said Johnston. “We also have students come in with really developed papers and  a question about the intricacies of MLA-style. Some students come in not quite sure of what questions they actually have but just want to talk to somebody who's confident, who knows the system, and who is willing to listen to them. We just want you to come talk to us.”

Past students said their sessions with research specialists have taught them to find credible sources for their research projects, to never give up on their searches, to reconsider angles and positions taken on paper topics, to be more specific, and to help narrow their research focus.

Ultimately, the unit wants first-year students to know that all librarians at CU Boulder Libraries are your librarians. All of CU Boulder’s librarians want you to feel welcome and that you belong.

“When students talk with us, we want them to know that we really see them as an individual,” said Learning Experience and Engagement Librarian Courtney McDonald. “When we see them, we're talking with them about where they are in their college journey.”

In addition to research consultations, the Libraries offer a number of other services for students to take advantage of. Students can also Ask A Librarian by stopping by any of our five branches or by calling, texting, emailing, or sending us an instant message.

The Libraries want you to excel and are committed to helping you make your research stand out and the first year of your undergraduate career a success.