Ever wondered what we do at the UGL? I mean, you walk past some people at the desks at the front who seem to be up to something, but what is it? Well, this week we want to tell you a bit about what we do at the research desk. (Stay tuned for the upcoming post: The Circulation Desk: Where the Magic Happens!)
Presenting: the who, what, when, where and why (but not in that order) of the research desk!
WHERE is the research desk?
We’re on the upper level (i.e. main floor, where the Espresso Royale is, with the sandwiches and the coffee) of the UGL, on your right as you enter the doors.
WHO works at the research desk?
The research desk is staffed by librarians and graduate assistants, aka GAs .The librarians are these awesome humans who have a huge wealth of knowledge and are more than willing to share it. The graduate assistants are a lot like the librarians, but usually younger, and they (we, actually, the writers of this blog are GAs) are in school here at UIUC getting their masters degrees in library and information science.
Okay, they sound cool enough, but WHAT do these people really do, though?
The librarians and GAs at the research desk are here to answer your every question about the library. We have skills and we love to use them to help you. Looking for a fun movie to watch this weekend? Ask at the research desk and we will show you how to look it up in the catalog, and how to understand what you see there so you can get your movie easily and quickly, and be on your way to a wonderful weekend. On the other end of the library spectrum, we also assist you with research. Need to find scholarly articles on the effects of video game violence on children? We will help you figure out where to look to find that information, how to search for it, and how to understand which sources are best for you. Basically, we want you to have mad skills.
WHY would you want that?
Well, it’s a wild, wild world out there, and we want you to be successful in navigating it. Basically, we know how hard it can be to find information when faced with all that the library offers. You may not even know what the library has (sometimes, we don’t either, but that’s part of the thrill of the chase). We want you to be able to use all the great resources that UIUC offers for you. These resources are for YOU and to USE, and we are here to help you do so. Cool, huh?
Yeah! That does sound kind of awesome, now that you put it that way. WHEN can I start using the research desk?
When you have a question! Ask us! But we’re not always here, even though we like to give that illusion. The UGL’s research desk is open from 11-9pm Monday through Friday, and Sunday. On Saturdays, everyone’s favorite day for coming to the library, there is a GA hanging out at the circulation desk (see next week’s post for more info) who can not only check out a laptop to you, but can also do all the cool research help stuff at the same time. You can also chat with a librarian via instant message, if that suits your needs better. That service is staffed by librarians and GAs from all over the UIUC library system (there are over 20 libraries on campus!).
So, there you have it, the long and short of the research desk. Next time you fly past us on your way to a serious study session, armed with your large iced no whip mocha with an extra shot, glance over and smile knowingly. You’ve got this.