The most useful comping resource: The reference librarian.
During freshman year, every introductory First-Year Seminar class is introduced to Pelletier Library. We’re told about all of its resources; the Learning Commons, writing consultants, tutoring in the quiet rooms, special needs services. But the single most understated service that the library offers is, without a doubt, the reference librarian.
I knew about the reference librarian. I remember when Don Vrabel, reference librarian, spoke to my class freshman year. I thought “Well this is great pal but I think I know how to look up books and write papers.” Little did I know that about three years later I would need him to help me look up books.
I explained my topic to him in an email. When I arrived at the meeting Don presented me with a paper, headed with my comp title, that detailed how to access different research databases and how to properly punctuate words in the search bar so that I find very specifically what I’m looking for.
The meeting only lasted an hour but by the end of it I had printed out three journal articles, I had requested two books from other libraries (they’re on their way now), and I found a book in Allegheny’s library that is now the cornerstone of my comp. I realize now that before meeting with Don, I really didn’t know how to do research.
So now I’ll take my ever-accumulating stack of books from the reference librarian and pile them up in the second most useful comping resource in the library: a comp cube.