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The Phillips Wing of Magill Library.
The Phillips Wing of Magill Library.

The Libraries Launch “Personal Librarian” Program

In the fall of 2012, the Libraries launched a new initiative, in partnership with the Dean's Office, called the “Personal Librarian” program. The concept is simple: all incoming Haverford students are assigned their own personal librarian to serve as a resource during their College career.

Librarians are matched to students through the Customs process. Beginning with Customs planning in May, librarians meet with Upper Class Advisors (UCAs) to discuss and encourage a culture of connection. The UCAs, in turn, support the process by guiding students in need of assistance to the group's librarian.

The librarians introduce students to methods for refining their internet search skills and move them towards more sophisticated research techniques. Ultimately, the program is designed to increase students' capacity for critical literacy and enriched thinking.

The program provides:

  • First point of contact for all library and research needs
  • Responses to questions as they arise
  • Guidance in leveraging the full array of library spaces, online and print collections, staff and services, and research strategies
  • Ideas about understanding and evaluating articles, books, and other materials as students conduct their research
  • Help when students are not sure what to do or where to start
  • Year-round support, even when students are away from campus

Librarians send approximately 12 communications to their group each year that outline resources and timely information about research services at key points in the term. At the beginning of junior year, librarian will introduce their students to the subject specialist within their major to facilitate access to additional and more intensive subject expertise.

During the program’s inaugural year, 25 students received help from librarians. Given that most freshmen are not yet conducting research, these contacts are encouraging. The numbers are expected to increase each year, and every librarian wants to see a greater level of connection and contact. Many more students have voiced appreciation for the resources—just knowing they had a personal resource proved reassuring to incoming freshman.


Similarly, upperclassmen have repeatedly commented that they wished they had such a relationship at the start of their College careers. Further, several parents commented that they will take the program back to their high schools.

The Climbing Stone, by Peter Rockwell '58, is located outside Magill Library.

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