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Here’s how the University Libraries can help you this semester

Meet some of the University Libraries staff members who can help you make the most of your college experience — and avoid crunch time.

Student works on laptop in library
UNC senior Doug Rouse studies in the Fearrington Reading Room at Wilson Library on May 2, 2018, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews / UNC-Chapel Hill)

If you haven’t hunkered down in a library until 2 a.m. the night before a paper is due, have you even been to college?

According to the movies, probably not. But at Carolina, the University Libraries staff is here to help students make the most of your college experience — and avoid crunch time.

Here’s how they can help.

Need help with research? There’s a librarian for that.

Durbin teaches a class

Dayna Durbin

Carolina’s libraries are most crowded around the time of finals, when they offer health-focused activities including yoga and therapy dog visits, but the facilities offer a lot of academic support throughout the entire year.

Dayna Durbin, the undergraduate teaching and learning librarian at House Undergraduate Library, said one of the most valuable resources she and her colleagues offer is research support.

“It’s a service that I don’t know that undergrads always know is available to them,” she said. “I think sometimes the perception is that sitting down with a librarian is something a grad student or a faculty member does, but we do a lot of one-on-one appointments with all students. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job.”

If you need help narrowing down a topic, learning about the research process or understanding citations, the library staff is ready to lend a hand.

“Reaching out for help isn’t a sign that you don’t know what you’re doing,” she said. “It’s really a sign that you’re being proactive before the paper is due tomorrow.”


Uncover Carolina’s storied (and sometimes quirky) history 

Austin smiles at a book

Anicka Austin

Of all the things you might expect to find in Carolina’s libraries, a cardboard cutout of Dolly Parton might not be one of them. But that’s just the beginning of an expansive collection of historical records housed at the Wilson Special Collections Library.

Anicka Austin, a Carolina Academic Library Associate at the University Archives in Wilson Library and library science graduate student, said it’s the perfect place to learn about Carolina’s history.

“The archives are a place where the story of the University is documented and accessible for students,” Austin said.

Many professors schedule time for their students to visit the archives as a class, but students can visit on their own to aid their research or peruse the many records and artifacts housed there, including official documents of student organizations and an online archive of Carolina T-shirts.

“It’s not all just old, dusty papers,” Austin said.

As a student herself, Austin understands that navigating campus libraries can occasionally be overwhelming. But with the help of librarians and student workers like herself, Austin said, students can become more comfortable using the many resources Carolina’s libraries have to offer.

“Every librarian that I’ve met here – and there are a lot – has been very friendly and open,” Austin said. “They really take the time to guide students.”

Explore a new academic interest

Greg Moore profile in front of bookshelves

Gregg Moore

Asking Gregg Moore to choose his favorite item in the Stone Center Library is like asking him to choose a favorite child, he jokes.

The 10,000-volume library tucked away in the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History houses literature, periodicals and journals about Africa, the African diaspora and the African American experience, with a particular focus on the social sciences and humanities.

Moore, who manages the library, said he enjoys introducing first-year and transfer students to the resources available to them, whether they’re searching for a new novel or primary documents for African American Studies 101.

“We can offer that one-on-one personal experience in the library,” he said. “It’s a learning process for the students, but it’s a learning process for me too. I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about African American history, so there are things we will learn together.” 

Learn to code

Henley stands in front of a multimedia screen with students in background

Amanda Henley

Take a trip to the second floor of Davis Library and you’ll find one of three Research Hubs on Carolina’s campus, complete with comfortable spaces for group and individual work, custom software for data visualization and the Liquid Galaxy— a 7-screen interactive digital Google Earth display.

As head of Digital Research Services at Davis Library, Amanda Henley oversees it all.

In addition to a wide variety of technology, the Davis Research Hub offers expertise from a staff of librarians and student consultants, all of whom are on standby to help students make the most of these high-tech resources.

“Our greatest asset is our staff and the expertise they can provide,” Henley said. “All of us are very dedicated to making sure that everyone can use data in their research.”

Many students visit the Research Hub to attend “short courses” to learn specific tools, such as coding languages like R and Python, that can aid in the research process.

With all of the resources the Davis Research Hub has to offer, Henley’s department is ready to help students at every point in their research.

“All of us learn from one another every day,” Henley said.