Librarian Marks a Milestone This Fall
UC’s First-Year Experience librarian looks back on six years of working at UC, as he looks ahead to assisting the 10,000th first-year student seeking assistance at University Libraries this fall.
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
James Krusling is about to encounter his 10,000th wide-eyed freshman and make everything okay. He’ll show that student that while University Libraries holds massive resources, it’s not so overwhelming to get to them, understand them and successfully use them – even for a first-year student who’s still trying to find the Starbuck’s tucked away somewhere on MainStreet.
Krusling was hired as the University of Cincinnati First-Year Experience (FYE) librarian in November 2000, back when FYE programs were relatively new to the university. Now marking his sixth anniversary at UC, programs like Krusling’s presentations and instructional sessions – specifically developed to address the needs of new students – are showing results.
The First-Year Experience for UC’s new students begins with their admission to the university and continues through the end of the student’s first spring quarter. During that period, they’re adjusting to life away from home, a schedule and an independence that’s entirely different from high school, as well as a large campus and all of its vast resources. FYE programs are designed to give these students the learning and life-management skills to adjust to their transformation from high-school senior to college student, so that they stay on track toward graduation.
As a result, UC is reporting progress on student retention. Eighty percent of last year’s freshmen are projected to re-enroll this fall, compared with 79 percent in 2005 and 77.1 percent in 2004.
Krusling, meanwhile, says the staff at University Libraries is making great strides in helping people find, evaluate and use the Libraries resources. “Students now have access to more than 500 databases and all kinds of magazine, journal and newspaper articles,” he explains. “Plus, we have 200,000 electronic books that students can access online. Sometimes, they don’t have to come to the library at all to research a paper.”
Instructional sessions assist students in evaluating library resources in terms of how to choose and find the best source for their project. Students can also connect to a “Chat with a Librarian” feature on the Libraries Web site to contact an e-librarian for help. The service is provided by the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), of which UC is a founding member. University librarians are among librarians at academic institutions around Ohio serving as e-librarians for this service.
Once the students find what they need, Krusling says librarians are now playing a larger role in teaching students about information literacy. “Whether it’s a Web page or an e-portfolio or a movie, we’re providing the technology and the software to produce their projects as well as providing informational sessions on how to use the technology.” The Student Technology Resources Center (STRC), located on the main floor of Langsam Library, is an example of a one-stop location for student technology projects.
As an FYE Librarian, Krusling works annually with more than 100 UC faculty who have developed FYE programs. Furthermore, his job includes outreach to hundreds of high-school students every year. “We want to teach the high-school students what we teach our first-year UC students about information literacy. Not only is this an opportunity to be a good community partner, but it also creates a high-school student who can hit the ground running once he or she gets to college.” Krusling’s community outreach includes Clark Montessori Junior and Senior High School, Western Hills High School and Hughes Center.
Krusling can be contacted at 513-556-1754 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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