The Advocate

Librarians seeking to be more useful

Sophomore+Matt+Stark+shakes+hands+with+Owen+Library+director+Peter+Egler+at+an+Aug.+30+open+house.+Egler+said+that%2C+eventually%2C+all+students+will+go+through+the+personal-librarian+program+during+their+first+year.
Sophomore Matt Stark shakes hands with Owen Library director Peter Egler at an Aug. 30 open house. Egler said that, eventually, all students will go through the personal-librarian program during their first year.

Sophomore Matt Stark shakes hands with Owen Library director Peter Egler at an Aug. 30 open house. Egler said that, eventually, all students will go through the personal-librarian program during their first year.

Matt Churella

Matt Churella

Sophomore Matt Stark shakes hands with Owen Library director Peter Egler at an Aug. 30 open house. Egler said that, eventually, all students will go through the personal-librarian program during their first year.

Matt Churella, News Editor

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Owen Library Director Peter Egler has started new programs for fall this year, which, he said, will help students take advantage of resources and make their education more affordable.

Egler said he sent an email to faculty members during summer break to ask whether their classes’ textbooks met criteria to be purchased by Owen Library’s staff for students to use, adding that he got about 20 responses by August.

“In order for us to purchase the book, the book has to be required for the class and it has to be over $50. As long as the book meets those two requirements, the faculty member can request that we purchase a copy of the book and place it on course reserve for the students to use.

“We got a few requests where the book was being used for a large number of classes. For those classes, where it’s more than one section, we bought two copies of the book.

“So, we’ll see how things go. It could be that we’ll buy more copies of those books going forward. We’d like to buy as many books as possible,” Egler said, adding that textbooks are behind the information desk on Owen Library’s first floor.

“They’re all on course reserves, so that’s behind the information desk. All (students) need to do is come to the information desk, say ‘the textbook for my class is on course reserve’ and have the information about the class. We can very easily get it for you that way,” he said.

Another program would involuntarily include about 800 first-year students.

The personal-librarian program involves Egler and three librarians—April Kelley, David Kupas and James Langan—contacting freshmen and transfer students throughout the academic year to guide them through databases, develop research strategies and inform them about new library services.

“We’re doing a lot of stuff we want to do with students, anyway. Rather than waiting for the students to come to us, in the personal-librarian program, the librarians are more pro-active as far as reaching out to the student.”

This is a program for first-year students. Once (Pitt-Johnstown has) a personal-librarian program for four years, then every student in the university will have been through it. Ideally, the students who choose to participate in it, we’ll maintain those relationships with them throughout their four years,” Egler said, adding that other universities have similar programs.

Egler said each librarian will contact about 200 students.

“In reading articles about personal-librarian programs, the participation rate in these (programs) is about 10 percent or less. If things work out as we expect, each of us will have the opportunity to work with about 20 new students, which will be great. I’m looking forward to that.”

Langan is in charge of contacting first-year transfer students, Egler confirmed. However, Kupas will contact all international students involved in the program.

“It’s a nice way to connect to the students as well. We’re hoping many of them will take advantage of the program,” Kupas said.

Freshman Maria Geary said she thinks the personal-librarian program will be helpful.

Owen Library also got new computers and is participating in a countywide program that raises opiod awareness. 

Egler said Owen Library gets new computers from Pitt’s university library system every five years.

“As part of the five-year rotation, it was time for us to get new computers. That happened this summer,” he said.

Egler also said that Barbra Zaborowski, Penn Highland Community College’s Mangarella Library director, received a grant last year from the Mid-Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine and the Cambria County Drug Coalition to place information about recovery help within all public and academic libraries in the county.

“We’re a very happy and willing participant in the program.”

Zaborowski said that not every library had to participate, although the grant made their participation free.

“We decided what our focus would be was to put materials in all the public libraries that anyone could go in and pick up for free that would give them information on where to get help,” she said.

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Matt Churella, News Editor


Graduated High School: 2016, Cambria Heights High School
Year: Junior
Anticipated Graduation Date: April 2020
Major(s)/Minor(s): Journalism
...

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Librarians seeking to be more useful