By Melissa Rayner
Before you turn to your closest colleague and whisper, “Hey, Bethany, either Gale forgot how to spell or is about 5 years behind the times when it comes to cutesy text speak,” let us explain ourselves.
While we’re always striving to better understand our customers, this isn’t about getting to know YOU. It’s about helping you understand U—Gale U, that is. And Gale U is about helping you better understand and meet the needs of your library’s users.
Still not making much sense? Allow me to break it down…
Gale U is our answer to an evolving academic landscape. It’s our way of putting real names, faces, and stories to the kinds of people who frequent the library, explaining their needs and challenges, and providing creative solutions.
And this post marks the first in a new weekly blog series that will introduce the people of Gale U one at a time. We believe there’s no better place to start than with Naomi, our resident Undergraduate Services Librarian.
As soon as you step foot on Gale U’s campus, you’re immediately drawn to the bright, airy building located near central campus. Eager to see what’s inside, you push your way through the doors and come face-to-face with a friendly-looking woman wearing a crisp, button-down shirt.
“Hi, I’m Naomi. Welcome to the Undergraduate Library.” She eyes the scattered stack of papers, books, and course syllabi teetering upon your outstretched arms and offers a warm, inviting grin.
You give her an embarrassed half-smile in return.
“Don’t worry. I can help.” She motions for you to follow her deeper into the library, and you do so without question.
As the two of you journey toward the bank of computers in the distance, an older woman approaches, a frown strewn across her beleaguered face. “Sorry, Naomi. We have to reject your proposal. The Subject Selectors made a case we just couldn’t refuse. Better luck next time.”
Naomi sighs, but carries on with her head held high.
You don’t make it much further before somebody else waves and calls, “Great lecture yesterday. I really feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this whole ‘information literacy’ thing.”
“Glad you enjoyed it, Kyle. You’re doing great!” she responds with a nod. Turning to you, she explains, “All freshman have to take my class. But, don’t worry, if it’s not on your schedule this semester, it definitely will be next time around.”
At last you make it to the bank of computers. Students of all ages, shapes, and fashion sensibilities occupy the vast majority of machines.
“There.” Naomi points to a computer a few rows down. “That one’s free. Let’s go grab it.”
She waits patiently while you fumble with your log-in ID and password, finally securing the correct combination on your third try. You look at her expectantly. What next?
“I saw Professor Strauss’s Introduction to Psychology calling card.” She points to my big, purple textbook with a giant picture of a brain emblazoned on its cover. “That’s a big book, but I’ll tell you right now, you’re going to be doing more of your reading online than anywhere else.”
Before you can voice your confusion over professors forbidding Wikipedia and, thus, your understandable confusion over having to do your Psych reading online, Naomi winks and says, “Trust me. Strauss is tough, which is why I make sure to find his students early on and point them in the right direction. You can do it. You just need the right tools, and it’s my job to equip you with those tools. May I?”
You nod, and she pulls the keyboard toward her chair, opens the web browser, and types in a string of characters, all of which brings up something called “Academic Onefile.” Interesting.
“Professor Strauss is going to have you look up articles for each and every one of his classes, and he’s going to demand they be peer-reviewed. Your best bet is this.” She gestures toward the computer in true Vana White fashion. “So, tell me, what did you talk about in class today… Classical conditioning? Of course. Here, you take over. Type in ‘classical conditioning’, and let’s see what you find.”
I do as told, and 1,171 results pop up in my browser.
“See! This is your one-stop shop. It has everything you need. Look, there’s even an audio file.”
I click into the first result and start reading.
Naomi beams triumphantly. “Looks like you’ve got a good handle on it now. Before I go, I just want to remind you that Academic Onefile can help with your other classes too. Like I said, one-stop shop. I’m going to go see if there’s another student who needs my help, but now you know where to find me, right? I hope to see you again soon, and welcome to Gale U!”
Isn’t it great that Naomi and many others like her are looking out for the undergraduate students of the world?
Our final note is this: While Naomi’s go-to resource is Academic Onefile, she routinely recommends a variety of other Gale resources to them. To see what they are, visit www.gale.com/university/naomi. To learn more about Gale U, visit www.gale.com/university. Next week, we’ll introduce Elizabeth, Gale U’s resident professor of English Literature.
Melissa is obsessed with books, birds, and bonbons. She is a new mom and holds an MA in Applied Sociology. She also writes fiction and skips about the interweb as Emlyn Chand.