Becoming a Competent Graduate Librarian

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As I enter my fourth year as a graduate librarian (and my 10th year of academic librarianship and my 29th year of teaching), I’m struck by how my approach to graduate students continues to shift. To my surprise, every academic year has brought a new revelation concerning what our students don’t know and do need, which necessitates a corresponding revision of service on my part. Although “competence” is a relative term, I feel strongly that the needs of our graduate students—and the skills necessary for us as providers to fulfill these requirements—are similar to those at other institutions and would like to share some of these findings with my fellow graduate librarians.

Points for discussion will be: getting to know student needs (for real); empathy and perspective; problem-based and lifelong learning; partnerships. I will provide examples of how these shifts in perspective have manifested with regard to explanatory content for students, particularly with literature review and the writing process overall. I will also discuss the search for internal versus external sources, which I expect will foster input and dialogue from participants.


Kennesaw, GA