Teaching & Learning

Embedded librarians support faculty, students where they work

Many faculty and students know that they can get help from librarians through online Ask a Librarian services, or inside Crerar, D’Angelo, Eckhart, Mansueto, Regenstein, and SSA libraries.  Increasingly, librarians are also providing customized on-site research and teaching services. From hospitals to classrooms, and legal clinics to a business incubator, University of Chicago librarians are using their expertise to support faculty, students, residents, and entrepreneurs where they work.

Librarians at the Hospital

Biomedical librarian with faculty physicians and medical student

Biomedical librarian Debra Werner (second from right) provides research support to faculty physicians, including (from left) Dr. Lolita Alkureishi, Dr. Nicola Orlov, and (right) medical student Riley Brian. (Photo by Joel Wintermantle)

Librarian Debra Werner joins the internal medicine team at UChicago Medicine’s Bernard Mitchell Hospital for patient rounds once a week, to provide research support as faculty, residents, and medical students develop a treatment plan for patients. Her iPad at the ready, she obtains rapid answers to patient-related clinical questions ranging from the side effects of pharmaceuticals to the evidence for selecting one treatment option over another for a specific patient.

Dr. Vineet Arora, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Scholarship and Discovery, as well as a member of the Board of the Library, is one of the attending physicians who brings Werner on rounds.   “I think that a librarian helps to promote greater awareness of the importance of clinical questions and evidence in patient care,” she explained. “It also helps us to understand when there is no data—and you realize that some of medicine is informed by your intuition or gestalt and not by evidence.”

Werner, who is Librarian for Science Instruction & Outreach and Biomedical Reference Librarian, is working with medical student Riley Brian and Dr. Lolita Alkureishi on a research project to assess the impact of having a biomedical reference librarian on the internal medicine and pediatrics inpatient clinical teams. They describe Werner as “a great addition to the team” and have found her research support invaluable. One study by Grefsheim et al. “showed that 97% of physicians who worked with clinical librarians would recommend working with them to other physicians,” they quoted. “Having a clinical librarian on rounds once or twice a week provides a bedside resource for complicated cases, can make patients feel like they are getting the most up to date and informed care, and can help team members learn how to approach answering difficult clinical questions.”

Biomedical Librarian Ricardo Andrade, who, like Werner, is based at the John Crerar Library, also goes weekly to the medical center.  At the request of Dr. Keith Ruskin and Dr. Jeffrey Apfelbaum, he provides on-site office hours for Anesthesiology physicians in the Center for Care and Discovery physician lunchroom, answering questions and raising awareness of research services he can provide.  “Being there, putting a face and a name to the Library, they can see me as their librarian,” Andrade explained.  Topics he has discussed with physicians run the gamut from how they can gain access to specific titles to the future of libraries.

Andrade and Werner both take advantage of their locations on-site to make UChicago faculty and residents aware of the support they can provide to those conducting systematic literature reviews for medical journals.  As medical librarians, they can bring their research expertise to bear by working with physicians as they develop a focused question, by constructing and documenting relevant, replicable searches across multiple medical databases, and by provide citations in the style required by chosen journals.

Librarians in the Classroom

Librarians and bibliographers have long supported a wide range of classes at the University by providing one-time training sessions to students in connection with research assignments. In recent years, they have been expanding the range and depth of their support for classroom teaching by developing tailored instruction with interested faculty.

For example, Nancy Spiegel, Rebecca Starkey, and Julia Gardner have worked closely with Professors Kathleen Belew and Susan Burns from the History Department to develop assignments and teach students information literacy and more advanced research skills as part of the course Doing History, which introduces first- and second-year students to how historians do their work.

Starkey and Spiegel began by teaching research fundamentals, such as how to use subject headings in the Library Catalog, find articles, and use databases to find primary sources.  As the course progressed, they provided support for assignments that required students to use scholarly articles, evaluate historical publications, analyze the contemporary reception of events, and study world history.  In the Special Collections Research Center, Gardner, who is SCRC Head of Reader Services, led multiple sessions that allowed students to interact with early manuscript material, learn about rare book printing, and gain experience using archival collections. With the help of librarians in a wide range of specialties, students’ final assignment was to develop an “archive” of historical materials exploring topics ranging from the relationship between bodegas and immigration patterns in Brooklyn to the role of historians in the making feature films.

Starkey, Librarian for College Instruction and Outreach, and Spiegel, Bibliographer for Art and Cinema and Bibliographer for History, expressed great satisfaction with the growth they have seen in students’ research skills over the quarter.  Students reported in course evaluations that they ended the class feeling increased confidence in their ability to use the library and their pride in their growth as budding historians.  “Then we see them over and over again doing work for other classes” Spiegel said.  “They’re really engaged with the library.  They ask good questions. They don’t just stop with Google or Google Scholar, and they’re a lot more independent.”

Starkey encourages faculty to contact librarians to discuss the many ways they can support coursework—not only through assignments and classroom instruction, but also via online help guides and tutorials.  “We can work with you to develop students’ skills over time based on the specific needs of your course,” she said.

Librarians support faculty who are teaching courses in disciplines across the University and at the graduate and professional as well as the undergraduate level.  For example, Emily Treptow, Business and Economics Librarian for Instruction and Outreach, recently supported faculty in the development and teaching of two new courses: Trustee Thomas Cole’s seminar for the College on Leading Complex Organizations, and Professor Stephen Fisher’s Chicago Booth School of Business course Marketing and Managing Luxury.

Librarians in a Business Incubator and Legal Clinics

Librarian Emily Treptow (left) shows business resources to entrepreneur Andrew Kim, President of HaulHound.com, at the Polsky Innovation Exchange. (Photo by Joel Wintermantle)

Librarian Emily Treptow (left) shows business resources to entrepreneur Andrew Kim, President of HaulHound.com, at the Polsky Innovation Exchange. (Photo by Joel Wintermantle)

This summer, Business and Economics librarians Jeffry Archer, Greg Fleming, and Emily Treptow began working with colleagues at UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which helps scholars and entrepreneurs translate their ideas and new technologies into start-up businesses and products. Archer, Fleming, and Treptow go to the Polsky Exchange office on 53rd Street monthly to advise UChicago faculty, students, and staff, as well as community members, on how to access the market, industry, and product research they need to develop their business plans.

On the other side of the Midway, D’Angelo Law Library staff provide support for a wide range of legal clinics that give law students hands-on experience addressing real-world legal issues.  The Law School’s Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab, for example, gives students the opportunity to develop practical legal and business skills through classroom instruction and work on cutting-edge projects with multinational corporations.

At the beginning of the year, D’Angelo provides a presentation on legal research process for all of the Corporate Lab students.  Then, D’Angelo librarians are assigned as liaisons to each project team, familiarize themselves with the teams’ projects, and meet with the teams at the beginning of the quarter to provide research assistance.  The liaison librarians function as resources for the project teams as they work throughout the year.

“The D’Angelo law librarians (most of whom are former practicing attorneys) are key to the success of our clinical program,” explains David Zarfes, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Corporate Lab Programs. “Certainly, they teach our students the skills necessary to research, analyze, and evaluate the accuracy, strength, and appropriateness of sources.   But their value extends beyond this. Fundamentally, the D’Angelo law librarians teach effective and innovative problem solving and communication skills that help our students navigate the path from law school to law practice.”

D’Angelo librarians also work closely with other clinics, including the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, the International Human Rights Clinic, the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic, and the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.  Increasing the level of support D’Angelo offers to all legal clinics is an ongoing goal for D’Angelo reference staff.

UChicago faculty in all disciplines are encouraged to speak with librarians about their particular research and teaching objectives to learn how a librarian may be able to support them in their work.

American Chemical Society on Campus

ACS on Campus is coming to the University of Chicago on Monday, November 7 for an exciting afternoon of programming. You’ll enjoy a free lunch and learn about the scholarly publishing process and how to advance your career in the sciences.

Location: Crerar Library, Kathleen Zar Room

Featured Presenters:
Dr. Jonathan Sweedler, Editor-in-Chief, Analytical Chemistry
Dr. Stuart Rowan, Deputy Editor, ACS Macro Letters, Professor at the Institute for Molecular Engineering
Dr. Michael Jewett, Associate Editor, ACS Synthetic Biology
12:00 – 1:00 pm Registration and Lunch
1:00 – 1:15 pm Opening Remarks
1:15 – 2:30 pm Top Ten Tips for Preparing Your Manuscript
2:30 – 3:15 pm Peer Review: How, Why, and What Not to Do
3:15 – 4:30 pm Careers in Chemistry – Panel Discussion
4:30 pm Closing Remarks

The event is free and open to all students and researchers studying the sciences. Lunch and networking is included. Register now!

Microsoft Office training for Law students


Organized by the Office of the Dean of Students and the D’Angelo Law Library, this program will give Law students all of the basic Microsoft Office skills they will need during the school year, in summer employment, and as an attorney.

There is no charge for the program; Law students may attend the morning session, the afternoon session, or both. Lunch will be provided but you must bring your own laptop. The program will be applicable for both Mac and PC users.

It will be held Saturday, October 22, with Word training  from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and Excel & PowerPoint from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., followed by a question and answer period.

Law Students must register in advance for this  program at  http://www.law.uchicago.edu/microsoftofficetrainingRSVPPlease RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19.

Library orientations, tours, and welcome programs

The Library offers a number of orientations, tours, and special programs during the first weeks of the quarter, tailored to graduate students in various programs, and College students and their families. Below are some of the upcoming orientation opportunities. Click on a session to view details.

Library Orientations for the College

Library Boot Camp

Librarian teaching a class

Photo by Jason Smith.

The John Crerar Library: Science Information You Want, Resources You Need

Library Reception for New Students and Families

Econ 101: An Introduction to Library Resources

Library Orientations for Graduate Students

Center for Latin American Studies Orientation

 Orientation for Computational Social Sciences

 English Department Orientation

Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) and Committee on International Relations (CIR) Library Orientation

Romance Languages & Literature Orientation

For programs and departments other than those listed, please contact the appropriate subject specialist.

Online Library orientation: Learn the basics from home

Welcome to the University of Chicago! As the heart of campus, the Library offers much more than books. The Library’s work is to provide comprehensive resources and dynamic services to support the research, teaching, and learning needs of the University community. You are invited to explore the Library’s extensive collections, services, and spaces by visiting our website, reviewing our orientation guide or watching online tutorials.

Library website

Over the summer, the University of Chicago Library launched a redesign of the Library’s website. The redesign was informed by University faculty, students, and staff, has improved navigation, and is mobile-friendly.

Learn about the site’s most notable features and improvements by watching a brief video.

After you explore the site, the Library would love to hear your feedback. Please report any issues using our feedback form.  The Library plans to continue refining the site as feedback is received and user experience testing is conducted.

Orientation guide

Librarian helps student

A librarian shows a research guide to a student. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Designed to give a preview of all the Library has to offer, the Library’s orientation guide helps new members of campus navigate the Library’s expansive collections, meet with a librarian, and reserve a study space.

The guide, while comprehensive, is no substitute for the variety of on-campus orientation sessions that the Library offers. Incoming students are invited to participate in tailored Library orientations hosted by librarians. These orientation sessions, combined with the orientation guide, provide new students with a jump-start on resources and services to help them succeed.

A listing of orientation programs can be found on the Library’s Workshop and Events Calendar. If you cannot make an orientation program, get assistance learning about the Library and conducting your research from our Ask a Librarian service, via live chat, email, phone, or in person.

Online tutorials

The University of Chicago Library has a suite of video tutorials to help you learn how to be an effective researcher. Videos cover skills such as searching the Library Catalog, requesting materials from other libraries, and accessing library resources off-campus. The Library’s video tutorials are available 24/7, allowing you to troubleshoot any issues you have day or night.

Watch all of the Library’s current videos on the Library’s YouTube channel. To learn more about the Library’s online learning initiatives, visit the Library website or contact an online learning librarian.

Summer research tips

Whether you are on campus or away from Chicago, the University of Chicago Library provides many resources and services available to help support your research during the summer.

Access to Online Resources
The Library’s electronic resources (including ebooks and ejournals) may be accessed no matter where you are located this summer. Learn how to connect to our online resources from off-campus.

Finding the Best Research Tools
Library Guides, many created by subject librarians, provide guidance on how to locate the best resources for a particular field or major. The Library also provides help guides on finding specific types of sources, such as newspapers or data.

Scan and Deliver
Do you need to read an article or essay in a book that is not available online? Use our Scan and Deliver service to request a copy be sent to you via e-mail.

Photo of a Librarian

Librarians are available during the summer to help you–in person or remotely via our Ask a Librarian service. Photo by Jason Smith.

Reciprocal Borrowing Agreements
The Library has reciprocal borrowing agreements with several academic libraries which allow UChicago students and faculty to borrow books directly from their collections. These include libraries in Borrow Direct Plus, as well as several Chicago-area institutions, including Northwestern.

Visiting Other Libraries
If you need to visit libraries and archives outside our reciprocal agreements, view our guide to doing research at other libraries before your visit. You’ll find tips on how to access different institutions, and strategies for identifying relevant collections.

Learn About Citation Managers
Summer is an ideal time to learn how citation managers can ease your research process.  Use citation managers such as Zotero or EndNote to organize your research and create footnotes and bibliographies automatically for your paper.  View our online tutorial for Zotero or guides to learn more about these tools.

Ask a Librarian/Reference Services
Librarians are on hand throughout the summer to help you with your research. Contact them directly via our Ask a Librarian service.  Or, if you are staying in Chicago, this may be a good time to schedule a consultation with a librarian who can suggest sources and research strategies for your project.

Graduating? Services and Tools to Support Your Research
Alumni can continue to visit and use our campus libraries if they live in the Chicago area. The Library and Alumni Association provide off-campus access to select research databases for alumni. For additional resources, the Library has a guide listing free online research tools that are available to anyone.

Jewish Studies Research Resources: workshop

When: Friday, May 20, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Where: Regenstein Library, Room A-11
1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
Description: A lunch hour session for graduate students with Anne Knafl, Religion & Philosophy Bibliographer, about Library resources for Jewish Studies research. Time for Q&A afterwards until 2pm…ask about anything Jewish Studies related, from computer software to journal subscriptions to special collections Can’t make it this time? There will be another session in Fall 2016. Or drop Anne an email (aknafl@uchicago.edu) and she’s happy to meet with you individually! Coffee courtesy of CCJS. BYO lunch.
Contact: Joseph Regenstein Library
Tag: Graduate Students, Workshops
Notes: Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance. Information on Assistive Listening Device

Research After Graduation: workshop

When: Thursday, May 19, noon – 1 p.m.
Where: TECHB@R Regenstein Library, Room 160
Description: Are you preparing to graduate? Leaving the University means leaving some library resources behind. This workshop will help you understand your library privileges as an alumnus, as well as introduce you to research sources outside the Reg.
Register: https://training.uchicago.edu/course_detail.cfm?course_id=1680
Contact: Joseph Regenstein Library
Tag: Workshops, Graduate Students, Training
Notes: Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance. Information on Assistive Listening Device

Organize It! Tools and Tricks for Managing Your Digital Documents: workshop

When: Wednesday, April 27, noon – 1 p.m.
Where: TECHB@R Regenstein Library, Room 160
Description: Class readings, research articles, news stories, assignments….how do you keep track of it all? This workshop will give you a brief overview places to store your digital documents, as well as methods to keep it all organized. Participants will be able to see demonstrations of free cloud storage tools like Google Drive, and Box, and be introduced to key features of the tools and strategies to help you find all your stored documents with ease.
Register: https://training.uchicago.edu/course_detail.cfm?course_id=1679
Contact: Joseph Regenstein Library
Tag: Graduate Students, Workshops, Training
Notes: Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance. Information on Assistive Listening Device

Introduction to Zotero, Bibliography Builder: online workshop

When: Tuesday, April 19, noon – 1 p.m.
Where: Online webinar
Description: Zotero is a free bibliography builder that allows you to save citation information while searching and browsing the Web. With a single click, Zotero saves citations and enables you to create customized bibliographies in standard citation styles, including MLA, Chicago and APA. This workshop will introduce some of the key functions of Zotero such as: installing Zotero, adding citations to your Zotero library, organizing and managing your citations, creating a bibliography, and using the Microsoft Word plug-in to easily insert citations from Zotero into your documents.

This workshop is an online webinar. Click the “Register” link below to learn more and sign up.

Register: https://training.uchicago.edu/course_detail.cfm?course_id=1010
Contact: Joseph Regenstein Library
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Tag: Student Events, Training, Workshops, Graduate Students, Staff
Notes: Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance. Information on Assistive Listening Device