Meet Ericka Raber - Education Librarian

Ericka Raber
How did you come to be part of the College of Education?

Last year, Dottie Persson, who had been the Education and Psychology Librarian for many years, was planning her retirement and the Libraries needed someone to fill the position. I've worked with several College of Education faculty members over the past few years, so I volunteered to help with the transition process.

When I got over here and worked for a while I really enjoyed it and thought this could work really well. The sense of community is really great over here. There are many opportunities to make connections, and it seemed like a good fit. So, I asked if this could be something that I could take on full time and it was approved.

Do you work exclusively with the College of Education?

I also work with the School of Journalism, the Communications Studies Department, and a handful of other programs. I also help out with some general instruction, reference needs, and various projects in the library.

How have you worked with faculty in the past?

Mostly what I've worked on were some instruction and research consultations. One example is working with Carolyn Colvin's Ph.D. Seminar in Language, Literacy, and Culture. I did an orientation that included an introduction to education resources and getting started with research. Then I met with the students individually to begin exploring their topics.

I’ve also met with faculty members to explore new resources that we have. Maybe they're taking a new direction in their research and want to explore different resources. I’ve also been a sounding board for what they're interested in, and we’ve worked together to figure out what kinds of resources might be available.

What types of support do you provide for students?

I often meet with graduate students for research consultations. We meet 1 – 1 ½ hours and talk about their research ideas. What have they already discovered? What kinds of leads do they have? What are they thinking about their topic and what research might be out there? What kind of questions do they have? What kind of data might be related to the topic? We brainstorm some ideas, identify key concepts, and think about where these conversations might be taking place. We can go many different directions with the topic and the search. We'll work to develop a strategy and some approaches to identify more related to those conversations.

I also meet with graduate students to look at EndNote, and I provide some open workshops on EndNote Desktop. Those have been well attended. I would like to encourage students to attend the open workshops. Students get a lot out of the workshop, and then they can get started using EndNote right away. Some students like to have that one-on-one experience getting End Note onto their laptop and importing some references into their own library or they might have specific questions in need of troubleshooting, and so I'm happy to sit down with them. I can help to figure out why citations aren't displaying properly or how to get references from a specific database into EndNote.

I've worked with groups within the College of Education to figure out ways to use EndNote to work collaboratively. Some questions or situations might require me to investigate a little bit, but usually we figure out a way to solve challenges that arise.

Do you see any new interesting collaborations on the horizon?

Dottie cultivated a following among graduate students, and I want to continue those efforts and support that in a sustainable way. Continuing the EndNote workshops is a great idea because, I can't meet with everybody one-on-one.

I’m hopeful to be able to do more course-integrated instruction as well as curriculum-integrated instruction. Ideally that’s the direction I would like to move. That will depend on the interest of the departments within the College of Education. I'd like to expand instruction for undergraduates. I think there's a real need to help undergraduates address their information and research skill gaps.

I'm looking forward to talking with instructors of large undergraduate courses, and working with them to reflect on where students struggle with information research skills and concepts. I want to identify ways to help the students beyond having me talk about the library and library resources. Together, we can identify ways in improve the learner experience and create opportunities for students to practice skills such as exploring topics, asking questions, evaluating resources, and developing search strategies.

How can faculty, staff, and students find out more about the support you offer?

They can email or call me. For students I keep an online calendar, and they can set up a meeting with me easily. They'll get an email confirmation of their appointment, and we can meet here in Lindquist Center. With graduate students, I like to plan on meeting for an hour or an hour and a half. And, of course, I'm happy to meet with faculty anytime as well. Outlook works great for that. Email, phone, or simply stop by N426 LC.

Is there any other information you’d like to share?

I’m also responsible for the Libraries’ collection fund for education. In other words, I purchase materials for the Libraries. I try hard to maintain a healthy collection of books, journal packages, databases, and other materials that support the research and instruction efforts within the COE. Feedback on our resources and purchase recommendations are always welcome.