University Library offers workshops to incoming students

GVL / Kasey Garvelink - Maria Beelen, Vice President for Educational Affairs, addresses the rest of student senate during their meeting on Feb. 18, 2016 in Allendale.

Kasey Garvelink

GVL / Kasey Garvelink – Maria Beelen, Vice President for Educational Affairs, addresses the rest of student senate during their meeting on Feb. 18, 2016 in Allendale.

Jess Hodge

Grand Valley State University’s University Libraries spoke to the student senate on Feb. 18 about the opportunities a library workshop can offer to incoming students.

The library will be launching a workshop series in March about many topics aimed to help students understand and develop their research skills.

Emily Frigo, the first year initiative coordinator for University Libraries, is excited to be able to help out first-year and new students.

“Next academic year, we will have a full-fledged series that will have orientation-type activities that are fun and social in nature,” she said. “This March, we’re doing plagiarism (and) this April we’ll be doing a workshop that is more focused on career and salary information.”

The workshops are aimed to reduce anxiety for students who may not be familiar with research or the researching process.

“One of the questions we ask ourselves in the library is ‘how can we positively affect student progress?’ and ‘what are the academic skills that we can contribute toward?’” Frigo said. “We’re well-versed in research and best practices as librarians. But one of the gaps we have is learning from your first time experience.”

The full series of workshops will start in the fall semester of 2016. Potential topics include strategies for developing and narrowing down a topic, time management for research in the library and advanced Google searching.

Maria Beelen, student senate vice president for educational affairs, expressed her excitement for the workshops and encouraged the senators to participate and offer their collaboration with the library.

“(The sessions) are so beneficial, they are aimed at incoming students and I learned so much even just from trying to set these up,” Beelen said.

The new workshops are the newest addition to the variety of consultants and resources in the library. There are research, writing, speaking and analysis consultants available to help students with their respective problem areas.

Jennifer Torreano, research consultant manager, noted the importance of these peer consultants for students.

“The research consultants work alongside the writing and speech consultants (and) we also have faculty who can help with data visualization and analysis in the Knowledge Market,” Torreano said. “They spend time working one-on-one with students in the Knowledge Market to help them with their library research. It’s really great for students to take that step back and spend some time talking with a peer in a situation where they’re not being evaluated by faculty. It allows them to feel a little more free in having a conversation and testing out ideas.”

Torreano also encouraged the senators to get involved and collaborate with the librarians. She said that student collaboration is a great way for the librarians to get feedback about the workshop topics, to share possible strategies for marketing workshops and to help get other students involved.

For more information on the library workshops, visit