May 20, 2009

Shocking myths that affect library users!

According to Primary Research Group's Survey of American College Students: Student Use of Academic Library Reference Department Services a significant portion of full-time college students have some serious misconceptions about the role of information librarians.

For example, over 10% of the students in a 400-person sample said that the reference librarians seem busy and they felt they would be pestering them by asking them for assistance.

Such a belief can have a serious impact on the quality of a student's research if they fail to get the help they need. It's a myth to think that library users are a "bother" or an interruption to the work of library staff. Alloway Library's public service staff are always glad to help answer questions. We work out in the open where we can serve the public.

The survey also showed that just under 10% of students thought asking the reference librarian a question was a little embarrassing and that consequently they tried to figure it out for themselves. "Pride goeth before a fall" my grandmother would say. Don't let pride cause you to get a lower mark on your assignment.

The librarians at Alloway Library are professionals; just like doctors and lawyers they observe a code of confidentiality and all library staff work to protect borrowers' confidentiality. And really, no question is dumb, except the one unasked.

As for "figuring it out for themselves, " that may lead to innovation, or a lot of needless frustration. Library users should know that the fourth law of Library Science is Save the time of the Reader.

So, don't believe the myths. Seek professional help. Help us obey the law.

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