Librarians as Guides: Personal Librarian and Research Coach Programs in the Theological Library

Additional Speakers: 

Craig Kubic, MBTS, Director of Library Services
Judy Howie, MBTS, Head of Reference


For several years, the professional librarians at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have been doing Personal Librarian and Research Coach programs in order to build relationships with the students and faculty. These programs were designed to help promote the library resources and services in order to decrease library anxiety. In the fall of 2013, the professional librarians at MBTS retooled their Personal Librarian and Research Coach programs. Each student was assigned a Personal Librarian. These Personal Librarians sent out emails every week about the library’s resources. Once this was done, the librarians received an increase in reference requests from the student body. Statistics also increased on the use of the catalog, LibGuides, and databases.

The Librarians also aggressively changed their Research Coach program. Each librarian was assigned as Research Coach(or embedded librarian) for a variety of classes based upon his/her background and education. These Research Coaches sent out emails to the entire class through Blackboard at the beginning of the semester. By making connections with the class, the students felt comfortable asking librarians about finding resources for specific papers and projects. Also, professors invited the Research Coaches to their classrooms in order to give short instruction sessions.   

            Not only have these programs increased face to face encounters with on-campus students, but it has also increased interactions between On-line students and librarians. Now On-line students regularly contact the professional librarians by email and phone in order to receive library instruction.

            We would like to present our programs to the Association of Christian Librarians to communicate the kinds of emails we sent, how the programs affected our usage statistics, and the effectiveness these programs have been in building relationships between the library and patrons.


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