Undergraduate Library: A Day in the Life

I’m Emily Hamstra, Learning Librarian at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library. I support student learning and engagement through developing meaningful instruction sessions and collections. No day at the library is ever the same for me, so here is a snapshot of one day at the Undergraduate Library.


The Librarians’ Forum meets monthly to discuss issues the latest issues facing University of Michigan librarians. Sometimes these meetings are focused on campus issues, sometimes they are focused on issues that affect the library profession as a whole. This month the meeting was about different publishing initiatives in the library and on campus. Representatives from Deep Blue (University of Michigan’s institutional repository), MPublishing (University of Michigan’s publishing department, a department of the library), Open.Michigan (open access educational resources created at the University of Michigan), and HathiTrust spoke about how they support the University of Michigan campus and scholarly publishing. There was a lively discussion and donuts.


Once I’ve cleared out some email, I get started on an order for the Undergraduate Library’s leisure reading collection. I maintain a large leisure reading collection. All books from this collection are purchased through a local independent bookseller.


I’m on chat reference. I’ve decided it’s really difficult, but possible, to help a student narrow a topic via chat reference. A special thanks to the database Issues & Controversies for helping me and a student narrow a broad topic quickly.


I’m working on the leisure reading order, or I’m trying to. It’s Global Information Week at the library, and one of my colleagues has invited a faculty member to demonstrate ancestral Peruvian weaving techniques in the library lobby. I certainly can’t read reviews of paranormal romance novels and watch the weaving demonstration at the same time! Weaving wins.


I have a meeting with a student. She was in one of my instruction sessions yesterday, and emailed me to ask if her sources are reliable. We talk about sources she found online, who wrote them, where they came from, when they were published, and how she found them. I refer her to the examples we went over in the instruction session, and point her to some library databases where she can find articles relevant to her topic.


Email, leisure reading order, and tea.


One thought on “Undergraduate Library: A Day in the Life

  1. Pingback: Chasing Reference: One Year Later | Chasing Reference

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