The University Libraries are excited to announce our new Peer Research Assistants program. Our Assistants are undergraduate students who have been trained in library research strategies and techniques as well as library resources and services.
The Assistants are located at the east side of the Tech & Research Desk in the O’Shaughnessy-Frey library – look for the whiteboard and lights. They are available for drop-in research help Monday – Friday 10 am – 6pm (5 pm on Fridays). We’re planning on extending those hours soon.
Wondering what kinds of help you can get from a Peer Research Assistant? We asked Josie Morss, one of our PRAs, to fill you in:
For much of my shift I spend most of my time sitting. I never turn down a good ol sit, but revel in the exercise of brain power and properly stretching my legs. Before you walk past me next time consider me the person with answers – or the person that will lead you on the path toward them.
Feel free to poke my brain about any of the following:
A CLICsearch driver CLICsearch is a resource that helps you find all the library’s treasures. The books. The articles. The videos. And more. It’s a user-friendly tool that makes finding books, articles, and reviews so much easier. You’re given a golden opportunity to master this site on your own time. If you’re not into mastery though, worry not because myself and the rest of the Peer Research Assistant folks are embarking on our black belt mastery skills. If you don’t want to find it – we can.
Research & Librarian Guides
College research projects are hard work. They require tons of time, extreme effort, and meticulous planning. The hardest part though is usually figuring out where to start. I could certainly give you the highlight reel of the library guides based on what’s beneficial for you. The databases could be of help in the wake of such a project, but if hungry for more knowledge I could definitely slide over a business card of our subject librarians – who specialize in different fields – and who would love nothing more than to help you dive deeper into learning.
I’m no computer wiz, but when our tech experts are off-duty or helping someone else, I’m the inevitable stand in. Computers are confusing and the printing process doesn’t make it any easier. If you find yourself getting in fights with our sometimes uncooperative technology. Give me a holler and I’ll be sure to ease your frustrations with a friendly introduction to print.stthomas.edu and it’s army of printers.
The Human Map
If you’re directionally challenged, like me, eagerly attempting to locate a bathroom, or on the hunt for a building you’ve never explored look no further than to me. I’m able to point you in the right direction (most of the time). If you come to me in search of a bathroom I’d tell you that every floor in O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library is graced by its presence, except the main floor. If confused on how to find a specific building, I will be sure to nudge you in the right direction. Just like Dora’s close friend the map – I will help get you where you need to go.
Join us at one of our Library Research Help Zoom drop-in sessions. Drop in during one of these sessions to meet with a librarian and a peer research assistant to get help with any library research questions you may have. Wondering what we can help with? Here’s a few of the types of questions you can ask (but feel free to come with other questions!):
How do I start a research project?
How can I find a specific book or article?
How do I know if an article or book is a good one to use?
How do I cite a source in my bibliography?
What types of sources would be good for my project?
How do I know if an article is peer-reviewed?
I’m trying to find research on a topic and I’m just not finding any, what should I do?
I’m trying to find research on a topic and I have way too many results, what do I do?
I found an article on my topic but it’s too old, how do I find something newer?
How do I know if I’ve found enough sources for a research assignment?
Schedule of Drop-in Sessions
(click on the date for details on TommieLink – St. Thomas log-in required):
You can connect with a librarian via the Chat tool (purple box at bottom right of the library page) or simply send a text (651-504-1324).
St. Thomas librarians will be available to answer Ask a Librarian questions
Monday-Thursday 10:00am – 10:00pm
Friday 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 pm
What if you have questions outside those hours?
No worries! We are part of a cooperative reference service called AskMN. That means that during off-hours, our chat and text messages are answered right away by other academic librarians around the country (and in exchange, some of our librarians answer questions from students at other libraries around the country). If the other librarians can’t fully answer your question, they’ll pass it along to us and we’ll get back to you when we’re back.
You can also ask a librarian via Email.
Email a librarian anytime or use our Ask a Librarian form and we’ll answer within one business day.
Don’t forget about Research Consultations with a subject librarian!
Our subject librarians are experts in the tools and resources for their subjects. They are available to meet with you to help with in-depth questions via Zoom, phone, or email: whatever works best for you! Don’t know who your subject librarian is? Check our Subject Librarian page to find your librarian and how to contact them.
As the University re-opens and people return to campus, we wanted to give everyone some information about what’s happening at the libraries and how things are a little different this Fall.
First, what hasn’t changed: we still have a robust set of resources (books, magazines, journals, datasets, films, and more) for you to use, and library staff are available to help you navigate, find, and use them. We are still here for you!
There are some changes, though, to keep you and our community as safe as possible during this pandemic. Our short video (3 min) goes through a lot of the changes, or read on for more details.
Libraries in the time of COVID
So what changes will you see in the libraries? (Note that these may change as the situation and pandemic and Department of Health dictate. Make sure to check our website for the most up to date information).
Masks, hand sanitizing stations, and work space sanitizing stations:
Masks are required to be worn in the libraries (as they are everywhere on campus).
If you are eating or drinking in the library, we ask that you have your mask covering your face whenever you are not actively eating.
We have hand and work sanitizing stations throughout the library. Please wipe down spaces before and after using them.
Research help is available online:
Our librarians love working with you to help you find and use our resources, but because our work is often in-depth, it isn’t safe to do it in person.
Pawprints on the floor in front of Stacks Café show you where to line up
You’ll see the familiar Tommie pawprint stickers on the floor in front of our desks and the Stacks Café to help you line up at a safe distance.
Spaces and furniture:
We will notice that we have moved furniture to be in alignment with our Common Good Occupancy, please do not move furniture from where it is. Rest assured that we still have many spaces available for study:
Spaces for online class participation: You are welcome to participate in your online classes in the library on the Lower Level, Sub Level and 1st floor, or in a reserved study room. You will need to use your own headphones/microphone, and keep your voice to a low level to avoid disturbing others.
Spaces for quiet study: The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors are reserved for quiet study. Please make sure you have headphones if you are listening to audio on your computer.
Study Rooms: NOTE: Effective Monday, November 23, all study rooms in the OSF Library are closed until further notice due to continued noncompliance with the university’s face covering policy.
Our study rooms in Keffer and Ireland libraries will be available to be reserved online. We are building in a 30 minute cushion between reservations to allow the space to air out. Most rooms are now single occupancy.
The study space on 2nd floor of OSF has tables and chairs spaced out for safety.
Books, Journals, DVDs, and other materials:
You can check out our books and materials just like before. You can request books from other libraries using CLIC request and Interlibrary Loan.
We are following recommendations that come from studies done by the REALM project on safe handling of library materials. Most books and other materials are quarantined for 72 hours. Glossy materials such as magazines, coffee table books and children’s board books will be quarantined for 96 hours.
What this means to you: You may notice delays in getting materials, especially if you request them from another library or if they were recently returned or received.
Technology in the library:
ITS has removed shared computers on campus including the lab computers in the library. We do have printing available and two computers to use to print documents.
We are not circulating headphones, cords, or lockers.
What this means to you: Bring your own device and headphones (if you’ll be listening to audio). Consider setting up Follow Me printing so that you can print to any printer from your laptop.
Alumni and Guests:
Alumni and guests are welcome in the library and can use and check out materials if they have a card. Because we do not have shared computers, we are unable to offer access to our electronic resources.
For our faculty: As you work on your classes for this Fall, please consider adding the libraries as a resource for your students by adding our statement (and editing as you see fit) to your course syllabus. While our research services have gone mostly online, we are still available and look forward to helping your students in all stages of their research assignment or with any of their information needs (and yours as well!).
University of St. Thomas Libraries Syllabus Statement
University of St. Thomas Libraries (O’Shaughnessy-Frey, Keffer, Ireland and Law) provide access to a broad range of information resources. Librarians support students with research assignments from the early stages to completion. https://stthomas.edu/libraries/
We can help you with your research assignments in any stage:
Navigate library resources
Familiarity with library home page; research & course guides; services; hours; contact info, etc.
Develop an effective research strategy
Research question; narrow down topic; identify keywords, concepts and terms; select relevant info; analysis & synthesis; evaluation, etc.
Identify resources for your search
Books, journals, newspapers, primary sources, social media, data, or others, depending on course /research needs
Document sources using an appropriate citation style
RefWorks (citation management tool), or other citation resources.
Make an appointment with a Librarian:
Subject librarians provide in-depth research assistance by appointment. If you would like assistance that goes beyond what is provided through regular reference services, we encourage you to contact the librarian in your subject area to make an appointment.
the poster reads, “Did you acknowledge your privilege today?”
If you come into O’Shaughnessy-Frey library this week and head up the stairwell, you’ll see some new posters posing questions and potential answers around institutional and structural racism. Those posters came out of the 2019 Annual World Café, a faculty-led event at which St. Thomas students from multiple disciplines came together for discussion in October.
The World Café model has been used at St. Thomas since 2012 to facilitate conversations around critical issues. Each year, this interdisciplinary event involves large groups of students participating in faculty-facilitated dialogue as a way of gaining perspective from people with different viewpoints. This year’s event covered issues related to structural, cultural, and institutional racism. Students emerged from the discussion with questions and/or action steps regarding racial justice in our community.
The questions and action steps are posted in the main staircase of the library. They are provocative and thought-provoking and intended to spark conversations. If you wish, please continue this conversation by sharing your thoughts on the rotunda whiteboard.
Below is a selection of photos of the posters as well as a photos of the responses left on the whiteboard. We will add more photos of responses as the conversation continues.
“For a university like St. Thomas that is largely funded by rich, white donors, how can the university encourage students to stand by their values rather than being influenced easily by monetary value?”
“Why do WE KEEP sweeping things under the rug??”
“The University of St. Thomas MUST ACKNOWLEDGE that we are on Sacred, Stolen, Indigenous Land”
“After racist incidents…Why doesn’t St. Thomas hold people accountable? #daddy’smoney”
“How can we change our Literature to have more representation?”
“Integrate conversation and curriculums about racism and its historical and present impacts across all disciplines.”
Whiteboard response, “The questions feel accusatory and some (#daddy’smoney) are not productive when they answer their own question. Start conversations, but do so in a way that allows for feaningful discussions, Not defensive discussion.”
Whiteboard response 1: “Its important to think about why the people asking those questions feel defensive instead of just calling them unproductive. There are lots of dialogues on campus. Have we showed up?” Response 2: “This”
Whiteboard response 1: “I think library is not a place for such questions. I don’t like it.” Response 2: “I think that the library is exactly the place to encounter different ideas and engage in these kinds of conversations.”
Whiteboard response: “I don’t think these posters are helping. They don’t sound constructive. There are too many posters and its kind of in[timi]dating”
Whiteboard response: “Imagine how intimidating it is to be a marginalized student on this campus EVERYDAY”
Whiteboard response: “If the library, which is a place for knowledge is ‘not a place for such questions,’ then what do you think it’s for?”
Now that we’ve entered December and the snow is on the ground, there is no question that we’re well into the winter season. At our last Winter Lights event, we talked about what we love about winter, and what the hardest parts of the season are. Winter can be filled with joy and beauty, it can be quiet and cozy. Winter can also be cold and isolating and full of stresses around finals, holidays, and end of year deadlines.
At our next Winter Lights event, we’ll continue that conversation and dive into those joys and stresses that we encounter during the winter. Counseling staff will lead a discussion about stress relief, finding joy, and demonstrate a relaxation technique. After the discussion, we’ll have a chance for everyone to create their own scent-pot mixture to take home and enjoy. Of course, we’ll also have snacks, related library resources, and a video of a crackling fire to keep us cozy.
Everyone is invited, we hope you’ll join us!
Winter Lights: Managing Stress and Finding Joy
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Noon to 1:00 pm
O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library, room 102 (right inside the entrance)
Until then, enjoy some photos of last month’s event:
Discussion about light therapy
Answers to what we look forward to and what is hard in winter
The brilliantly-colored leaves of fall are mostly gone, and the temperatures are turning colder and we turned our clocks back this weekend. There were snow showers today, and we cannot deny that we’re moving towards winter at a brisk pace.
We hope you will join us next week for our kick-off Winter Lights event. Each winter, we offer a series of monthly events from November – February to gather together as a community and share ways to thrive in this Minnesota winter. Counseling staff will join us to discuss the mental and physical effects of shorter days and will talk about light therapy and demonstrate how to use a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) therapy lamp. We’ll have snacks and warm drinks, library resources you can check out, and a craft activity so you can take some of the light home with you. Plus, you can enter to win your own SAD light!
Winter Lights: Preparing for the Winter Days Ahead
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 pm, Room 108 in O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library
Photo of light jars created at last year’s November Winter Lights event.