You have a major paper due this week. You haven’t started yet, and you have no idea where to even begin. If you haven’t been in this situation yet as a university student, you will. Luckily, just two streets over from Laurier Brantford’s Research and Academic Building, resides the Brantford Public Library, where students can seek answers to their research questions.
Irene Tencinger, Laurier Brantford’s Reference and Collections Librarian, says people underestimate how much time research can take, and therefore it is natural for us to procrastinate.
“If you don’t know how to start [your project], come see me,” says Tencinger.
Pauline Dewan, a Reference Librarian for Laurier Brantford, also assists students with their research needs. Dewan and Tencinger are soon moving from their Brantford Public Library home to a new office in Grand River Hall.
Tencinger explains that Laurier Brantford provides a collaborative effort between Learning Services, who help students brainstorm for their projects, and the Laurier Brantford librarians, who help the students with research.
The most common problem Tencinger hears from students, is that they have no idea where to start searching for a journal article. She helps solve their problem by asking more about what they are researching, she guides them, identifies helpful databases for them, and helps with search strategies.
“An important part of my job is connecting students with the information they need,” says Tencinger.
Laurier Brantford’s library website (www.library.wlu.ca/brantford) is an intricate and information rich tool for all students to assist in their research. A variety of search engines allow students to specifically research books, articles, subject and class guides. The website also shares tips regarding quality research, how to find peer reviewed journals and articles, how to pick a topic for a paper, and how to cite properly. By visiting the Laurier Brantford librarians, students can also learn how to easily navigate the library website and discover how to successfully search for keywords.
“You can explain it, I can explain it, but we need to explain it to the computer,” says Tencinger.
However, while Laurier Brantford’s library currently resides within the Brantford Public Library, the question of when students will receive a library of their own is constantly in the air.
Rebeka Gergens, a second year Concurrent Education student, takes courses at both Laurier Brantford and Nipissing. She says that she has used the library as a place to meet with partners in group projects, as well as a place to check out a children’s book for her lesson plans.
“I have used it as a public library, but not as a university resource,” says Gergens. “Instead of going to the public library, I’d rather use the online database, because there is more selection.”
Universities such as Western, Waterloo, Toronto, and Laurier Waterloo boast large and extensive libraries for students to use for their researching needs. While Laurier Brantford is a relatively new campus, a campus library should be high on the priority list.
“All I can say is that I am optimistic,” says Tencinger.
Tencinger explains, she likes to focus on how the Laurier Brantford library compliments the public library.
“The issue all libraries face is a space issue,” she says. “We are two libraries sharing the same space.”
However, she admits, librarians are very good at working cooperatively with each other.
“Brantford librarians have been very sensitive to what our community needs and what their community needs,” says Tencinger, explaining the relationship between the student population and the rest of Brantford.
Students can receive a free Brantford Public Library card which can be used to access public library materials. The library currently has about 9000 Laurier books, a media collection, and education kits from Nipissing. The library also offers group study rooms which can be reserved at the reference desk. The Information Commons on the third floor, where Tencinger and Dewan are currently located, offers a space for quiet study. The computers on this floor have the appropriate software to view videos from the Laurier Brantford collection.
The Information Commons will be open until midnight from mid-October until December and from early February to April.
The Laurier Brantford librarians will also be offering office hours in Learning Services. Tencinger will be available Monday afternoons from 3 pm to 5 pm, and Dewan will be there on Thursday from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.
The Laurier collection can be found on the lower level of the Brantford Public Library, located at 173 Colborne Street.