Category Archives: Thomas Library

Library Research — A Marketable Skill

Sarah WhalenIf you’ve been to the library very recently, you may have noticed me as a new face. My name is Sarah Whalen and I’m an adjunct reference librarian helping out while Kristen Peters is on maternity leave. I completed an internship with Thomas Library in the spring semester of 2013. Since then, I’ve been working as a freelance researcher, assisting academics and business professionals with in-depth research on a wide variety of topics.

Most of the people I assist have not had the benefit of specialized instruction in using library resources and don’t know where to start when their employers ask them to present on a variety of topics. In addition to conducting research, I also design presentations and reports that highlight the found information. As with any freelance work, sometimes I am very busy and other times things are quite slow. I put a lot of time into marketing myself, writing proposals, bidding on projects and putting my best foot forward while completing projects so my clients come back to me when they need more work done.

You have the opportunity to use the reference librarians’ professional expertise to your advantage while you’re at Wittenberg. Some of your classes will include instruction sessions on using library resources and help you to hone your research skills. We’re also available for one-on-one research assistance if you find yourself struggling with a project or just want to learn more. The moral of the story: make use of us now and learn the research skills you will need in your professional lives so you can avoid paying someone like me exorbitant hourly rates to do what can be done independently with the right skills. Learning to navigate information resources is definitely an investment in your professional future. Your effort will pay dividends.