Central New Mexico Community College is changing the way students learn—putting librarians in the classroom to teach them about research related to their specific classes.
Through the Embedded Librarians program, those with a certain expertise are able to go directly to the students, teaching them everything from using the library’s catalog to helping them cite sources.
In the program new to CNM, librarians trained in different fields go directly to the classroom and teach students where to look and how to get started.
“A lot of times, I think students are intimidated to ask for help, or they don’t really know where or how to ask for help. So the opportunity to be in the class with them and build relationships and build that trust with the students has been really awesome. We have seen an increase in the number of students coming to the library to get help,“ said Samantha LeGrand, a CNM library specialist. “The idea of doing research is really scary and overwhelming, so we’re there to kind of give them that structure and that support to know how to start and where to go.“
Students learn about all the resources available to them on campus.
“They may not be familiar with databases, they may not be familiar with academic journals, so what we’re doing really benefits all of the students,“ said Mike Germroth, a CNM reference librarian. “With the embedded program, we meet the class maybe two or three or even four times so it’s easier for the students to digest that information over the course of a term rather than just in that one hour.“
One of the librarians, a former CNM student herself, says the program aims to show people how to get the most of their education and make connections across campus, and they end up more successful in school.
“We’re not just books. We have other materials and things to help them as well. Not only to help search the libraries but even how to search Google better,“ said Carlee Philpot, a CNM library specialist. “I know for me, as a student, it was really, really, it was one of those things that helped me get through school is being able to connect with people on campus and really feel connected and part of the community.“
Some instructors say they’ve already seen a difference in the quality of work coming from students.
“As the instructor, I have noticed a huge, positive difference in the actual quality and kinds of work that my students are submitting around the research project,“ said Jessica Mills, a CNM English faculty member. “I’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback from my students. They really appreciate having a face to attach to this big, awesome, but sometimes intimidating to students, building.“
Right now, only some professors use the program, but it’s open to all of them. The school says the program is especially helpful for those just out of high school and for returning students who are getting back into the groove of doing school work.