Today is our first in a series of EasyBib customer profiles. We are discussing with librarians across the country on their careers, teaching methods and insights—and how EasyBib ties in to their instruction. Our first featured librarian is Michelle Hammond, Associate Director of Public Services at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.
Michelle’s career began at American Mobile Radio Corporation, which was a precursor to the popular XM Satellite Radio. During her nearly 10-year career with the multi-million dollar company, Michelle became the national manager for its music library. During her tenure with XM, she began formal studies in Library & Information Science at The Catholic University of America. Upon graduation, Michelle worked as a Distance Education Librarian for The Johns Hopkins University. She joined Morgan State University’s Earl S. Richardson Library in October 2010.
What led you to the reference work area of librarianship?
I’m very much a people person. I enjoy experiencing the sense of excitement, accomplishment, and ultimate confidence developed after one ‘learns something new.’ I enjoy being part of that information discovery process with people and Reference provides a wonderful platform to share in that discovery process with students, faculty, and staff. I also enjoy collaborating with the academic community in a very ‘grassroots’ way. I like to ‘get out there’ and be somewhat of an “ambassador librarian guru,” letting people know that the world of information and library science has firmly entered an amazing digital vortex — with the Cybrarian leading the way through the ‘mega-swirl of information.’
There’s a whole information highway, sea, ocean out there, and I help students figure how to sift through it all. The thing I really respect about EasyBib is that you understand that libraries have to evolve—you figure out needs of our primary constituency and adapt your features accordingly.
What are some of the most common struggles you’ve noticed among students at Morgan State when it comes to the research process?
I think students are overwhelmed with the concept of citations because they see the world of citations as “the entire APA Manual” and/or “the entire Chicago Manual of Style” instead of seeing citations as a few key component parts that are arranged in different ways–depending upon which manual is used. When you take time to break down the component parts of citations, students become less intimidated and understand it much better. That’s where EasyBib comes in…it assists me in the classroom as I explain those “key component parts” of the citation.
Not to mention, the mere name of the product immediately gives ease to students (no pun intended!) and makes them feel more receptive and comfortable just because the product name is branded in that way. Kudos to the marketing genius who made that decision for the company!
When did you first hear about EasyBib, and what was your first impressions?
I met the owners at ALA in 2010, and had already been using it quite a bit. Our students are always excited to learn our university has an expanded version of EasyBib. A number of them already use the free version. However, their eyes light up when they discover the Morgan-branded Academic Version is available. They are amazed to know EasyBib allows them to, not only create bibliographies, but also gives them a place to draft both outlines and notes for papers. Additionally, EasyBib’s portal – in and of itself – helps make those “component parts of a citation” very clear.
How does your library use EasyBib as a way to teach fundamental information literacy skills?
It’s one of the key component parts that we talk about in every information literacy session with students; we include it as a resource they should be using. You see the students’ faces light up when they see how it will help them with citations. They can sit in their own time and their own space and explore different pieces of a bibliography.
We introduce EasyBib in every LRS (Library Resources & Services) session. It has become a core and pivotal resource that we always mention when discussing ‘new library tools.’ It’s great to see the “eureka” bulb pop on above students’ heads and corresponding smiles light up the room when they discover how EasyBib can help their paper writing process. When we explain how it works, “raised eyebrows” and “nods of approval” sweep the room. That’s when I know a product is a hit and EasyBib is a winner every time.
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