Navigating Our Way Together

Frances Krempasky
Electronic Resources Management Librarian

On my first day as an LCC Librarian, I was given a tour of the Library. When we reached the Reference area I was thrilled to see students working at almost every computer and table. I instantly felt a sense of excitement at the prospect of working with LCC students; not only because I felt that I could personally serve them, but also because LCC students are clearly striving hard to learn and succeed.

As the Electronic Resources Management Librarian, my job entails managing LCC’s online databases and working with students at the Reference Desk. I am aware that with every Reference interaction that I have, I have the ability to make a difference in a student’s life. But unlike my faculty colleagues who teach in a classroom setting, I don’t have the opportunity to connect with students over an entire semester. I sometimes only have minutes. So I make that first encounter matter. I treat each student with respect by greeting them promptly and making eye contact. I try to engage them and make them feel comfortable. I feel that I have a natural connection to LCC students because of my own background. I am a first-generation college student and my urban, diverse, and lower-middle class upbringing allows me to relate to many LCC students. I have a genuine affinity with them, as I too, was once overwhelmed by my tasks, didn’t know how to ask questions or request help when I needed it, and wasn’t sure how to navigate the academic world.

Some of the LCC students that I’ve helped face common issues and obstacles. Some are stressed at having to find research articles and are unfamiliar with the library in general. Some may not grasp how to create search strategies within the databases. I feel that my most important impact is to allay their fears and teach them about the research process. Helping them to navigate through the process is key in building their confidence. At the same time, I am also teaching students information literacy skills. These learned skills can be used again as the students move forward in their studies, and upon graduation. And why is this important to me and to our students? Because I want them to succeed as much as they want to succeed.