Library Support for Student Organizations


Photo credit: Nadia Crawford

Photo coordinated by Nadia Crawford

Professor Alex Gallin-Parisi, a recently-tenured subject liaison, has been appointed as the new student engagement/organizations liaison of Coates Library. This position is geared towards engagement and outreach with student organizations and student life, such as the Chapel. This position will focus on assisting student organizations reach their goals on campus.

Professor Gallin-Parisi explained what she hopes to achieve as a subject liaison, which is shared with many of her fellow subject liaisons.

“[Our main goal is to] teach information literacy skills and concepts important and useful to those subject areas”, said Gallin-Parisi.

Professor Gallin-Parisi also shared the main responsibilities involved with working as a subject liaison.

“[My responsibilities are] teaching one-time information literacy sessions that most of you and your classmates are familiar with, doing one-on-one research appointments, and creating LitGuides and online tutorials”, said Gallin-Parisi.

These are just their student-centered responsibilities- they are also responsible for building the library collection in their subjects and selecting resources.

Professor Gallin-Parisi’s favorite parts of working as a librarian all involve the students.

“[I enjoy] meeting students and building those relationships with students” said Gallin-Parisi.

She enjoys working with students on non-academic information literacy needs, despite where they are in the process. This is an area where everyone has a need for information literacy, but not necessarily one that most approach librarians for help with.

This passion for student relationships, building confidence and successful communication with underrepresented communities has led her to work on building the new student organization/engagement liaison, in addition to her subject liaison duties.

This new role will emphasize outreach to student organizations. It is similar to subject liaisons but focuses more on fulfilling the needs of student groups and helping them achieve their goals on campus, rather than helping students with specific academic assignments.

There are several goals and hopes Professor Gallin-Parisi has for the impact of the new liaison role and its effect on campus.

“I would like to enhance student success and equity and retention by preparing students to do out of classroom research and have information experiences that don’t have to do, un-tethered to academic assignments”, said Gallin-Parisi.

Another goal she stated is outreach to a broader group of students that normally do not approach subject liaisons for support.

“I think a goal that I had and is only now even more pronounced is giving support to students that have been or have felt underrepresented and unwelcome”, said Gallin-Parisi.

In the event of the pandemic, Professor Gallin-Parisi has had to change her plans for what this role looks like for a limited group of students on-campus.

Meetings will be online and over Zoom. While there had been a number of meetings with student organization leaders already scheduled, some had to be rearranged and moved online. This poses some challenges- students are experiencing fatigue from online appointments and it can be difficult to form relationships online.

Professor Gallin-Parisi is hoping to focus on more “organic” relationships, either through outreach from previous students or student organizations reaching out to her for help, as she knows forming new relationships online can be difficult.

Some previous work includes the organization PRIDE working with Professor Gallin-Parisi to build a database and collection of LGBT+ specific films and a spreadsheet of everything LGBT+ the library currently owns.

She has also started discussions with the Indigenous Persons club and the Trinity Diversity Connection. One of her main goals is outreach to underrepresented groups and those who feel unwelcome.

What does this mean for leaders and members of student organizations? There is a librarian dedicated to helping your organization achieve their goals across campus.

Professor Gallin-Parisi looks forward to working with students at any stage in the process of planning and executing ideas.

“[I am] eager to build relationships with them, even before they have an information need… I will accept them as individuals and as a group wherever they are in the stage of figuring out what they want to do”, said Gallin-Parisi.

She emphasizes that she enjoys working with the whole student and getting to know them as a person. Despite the limitations that this pandemic poses for everyone in the upcoming semester, Professor Gallin-Parisi is determined to help in any way she can.