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Librarians on the Loose


There are times when an online search just doesn't cut it. Rod Library knows a key component to student success is the ability to find and evaluate information. While the Internet has undoubtedly made it easier to access information, it has not made it easier to navigate or assess all of that information. With over one million books, 200+ databases, and 4.6 billion websites at our fingertips, it is no wonder why you can get a little lost. But have no fear, we are here to help.

One place to look for information is Rod Library, which students do every day. The library’s special service areas, including the Youth Collection, Fine and Performing Arts Collection, Special Collections & University Archives, and UNI Museum, serve students’ unique research needs. Of course, the Library Services desk on the main floor is also a perfect place to start with any research question.

We also know that students use the library from off-campus, and Rod Library has worked to maintain robust resources for distance students.

But what about all of the students that are on campus but not in the library? Could we bring the library to them too? We decided to find out.

Going Beyond the Library Walls

Librarian Anne Marie GruberWe started by embedding a chat box throughout Rod Library’s website so no matter where students are, they can quickly connect with the library. In September alone, library staff answered nearly 400 questions via chat.

Next, we sought to find students in their native habitats. In spring 2017, Librarian Anne Marie Gruber decided to pilot office hours in McCollum Science Hall, realizing that biology & chemistry/biochemistry majors spend lots of time there and might not get to the library very often. Students and faculty loved having her there, so this fall she added office hours in Sabin Hall to serve the social work department, which has significant research requirements for students.

Liz Torres Herrera, social work graduate student, UNI

"Anne Marie has helped me to use the library databases and to better understand the research process. I use the office hours because it is so convenient to have a librarian in the building where I take most of my classes.”

Shrisha Nepal, social work graduate student, UNI

"It is less crowded, and it feels like she is here to help. It’s nice to know that help is right in the building.”Librarian Angie Cox helping a student during her office hours

Similarly, Librarian Angie Cox noticed that students whose classes are in the Wellness Recreation Center weren't often in the library and guessed that it might have something to do with the “concrete curtain” that is Hudson Road. As a solution, she set up office hours on Thursday afternoons in the WRC and has been pleasantly surprised by the response from students.

So no matter your question and no matter your location, know that Rod Library librarians are there to help you!

  • McCollum Science Hall: Mondays 1:30-3:30 p.m., lounge outside room 201

  • Sabin Hall: Wednesdays 1:30-3:30 p.m., hallway outside room 235

  • Wellness/Recreation Center: Thursdays 1:00-4:00 pm., WRC 209

  • Communication Arts Center: Tuesdays 11:00-1:00 p.m., CAC 236

To access our "Ask us!' portal for research help, click here.

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