Personal Librarians

A colleague posted a link to a story titled, “Libraries Make it Personal,” by Steve Kolowich, from Inside Higher Ed.

The brief news piece focuses on the assignment of personal librarians in academic libraries at Drexel and Wesleyan. The colleague wonders whether personal librarians create a certain dependency on librarians for their research. I thought I would share my comment in response to the article and the issue of dependence.

It appears that the programs are working fine at the University of Chicago and University of Richmond. I suggest that such dependency can only be a good thing, as far as librarians are concerned. I suppose the ideal scenario would be one in which the librarian facilitates academic success and teaches the student to better perform independent research, while fostering a relationship that the student prefers over working without the librarian. That student may then access her personal librarian for services and insight beyond research (i.e., 2.0 instruction, reader’s advisory) and perhaps become a lifelong library supporter.

I like to see this kind of proactive thing from libraries and hope the Drexel and Wesleyan communities find success in it.


About Steven V. Kaszynski
librarian, editor, contributor

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