By: Tziona Kamara  | 

New Librarian Program for First-Year Students

YU Libraries have launched a new personal librarian program for first-year students. This new initiative is aimed to help new students on campus quickly learn how to glean all the advantages of the campus library. Each first-year student has been paired with a librarian who is there to introduce the student to the library and all that it has to offer, and to help with the process of finding books or conducting research. Previously, this personal librarian program has been available for honors students, but it was decided that the University would be better served if the program was extended to include  all first-year students.

Public Services and Outreach Librarian Wendy Kosakoff describes the personal librarian as a “personal banker” of sorts who is there to ensure that students are more knowledgeable about the library. After feeling that the library could be helping more students with writing research papers and other tasks, Kosakoff began researching alternative programs. She realized that the group of honors students is not very large and that the library could have a more significant impact if it focused on a larger group, such as all first-year students. Additionally, while honors students may occasionally need help with their research, first-year students also need to learn how to navigate the library as a whole.

By their final years at Yeshiva University, students are often able to navigate the library, but when first arriving on campus, the large library with its abundant resources can be overwhelming. A program aimed at first-year students can ensure they are properly trained from the start, making their first year — and the rest of their time on campus — that much easier. Nearly all of Kosakoff’s research pointed to other universities running successful personal librarian programs for all first-year students, as opposed to only honors students. Even graduate degree programs often choose to have a personal librarian program aimed at first-year graduate students. 

At the beginning of the semester, first-year students received an email from their personal librarian, welcoming them and letting them know that they are there to help, as well as providing some helpful tips. The expectation is that as the semester progresses and more papers and projects are assigned, an increasing number of first-year students will take advantage of the personal librarian program. The ultimate goal of the program is to build relationships with students that will last beyond the first year on campus. Kosakoff spoke of the eagerness of the librarians to help students, on both the Wilf and Beren campuses. They “don’t judge, they just help,” no matter how large or last-minute the request for help may be. She and the other librarians hope that this program will encourage students to feel comfortable approaching the librarians and to take full advantage of the library.

Photo Caption: Mendel Gottesman Library Research Desk 
Photo Credit: Shlomo Friedman/Commentator