New library liaison assists transfer students

The library prepares to gather data to help students navigate its services efficiently.



Christian Leonard, Writer

To promote information literacy and knowledge of available services for transfer students, first year students and alum, the library hired Julie Ellis as library liaison this fall.

Streamlining the process

In previous years, the library liaison program had positions according to subject area groups such as English or humanities. However, the library streamlined this process by assigning one liaison to each school. To prevent students, especially transfers, from falling between the cracks of library services, dean of the library Gregg Geary created an additional liaison position.

The primary purpose of the liaison is to ensure a stream of effective communication between students and the library. While the library has not finalized initiatives for the new position, Ellis plans to host an event in mid-October to allow transfer students to connect with the liaison and provide their input for what they want to see from the program.

“I would encourage students to get to know us,” Ellis said. “Stop by and make contact with one of the reference librarians or the reference assistants. We’re there to help you. So I would want students and faculty to just feel comfortable to come to us with whatever they need.”

Since transfer students have varying degrees of library experience coming in to Biola, they may have more or less need for training in comparison to first-year students, according to Geary. Events such as the one held this month will allow Ellis to gauge the information literacy of transfer students and offer workshops appropriate to their level.

“If [students] have a comfort level with coming in the library…  they start using the resources. We just know statistically they tend to succeed better at school,” Geary said. “You can tell people that until the cows come home, doesn’t mean they’ll come and do it. So what we’re trying to do is build those connections… that’s why we have different events in the library―we want them to feel at home.”

a great deal of time and effort

Transfer liaison for commuter life and senior elementary education major Sarah-Renee Smith reported having difficulty utilizing the library’s services upon transferring to Biola.

“It was nice having the course reserves, because my city college didn’t have that, but trying to navigate where to find a book was kind of hard, and… the different resources that were located in the library,” Smith said.

However, she believes if the liaison provides the training and tools needed to properly make use of the library, she will be able to better direct students she works with toward its resources.

“I’m really happy that the librarians [are] looking out for transfers in that aspect,” Smith said.

While the library is in the process of gathering input from transfer students, plans for first-year students and alum currently remain in discussion. Initiatives such as the liaison program demand a great deal of time and effort, according to Geary.

“I’m really excited about it. We do a lot of this kind of stuff,” Geary said. “Most of the services and little things that we provide, there’s… weeks and months of planning that go into it, and all the patron ever sees is… ‘You now get this service.’ We’ve usually done a fair amount of background work to make it happen before it’s deployed.”

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