What questions should I ask a librarian?

Answered By: Erin Weber
Last Updated: Jan 16, 2020     Views: 86

An excellent question, and far less intuitive than many people believe!

Librarians are information experts. Our primary job is to help you find, access, and use various types of information. Because information is a huge concept, there are many questions that can help you get started. 


Good for chat or text:

  • Finding other resources at UTM
    • Where is the Writing Center? What can they help me with?
    • Is there any tutoring on campus?
    • How do I get help picking my career? How do I make an appointment with Career Planning and Development?
  • Vocabulary, definitions, and explanation
    • I need to find peer reviewed articles. What does peer review mean? How can I tell if something is peer reviewed?
    • What is the difference between articles and journals?
    • What is a permalink?
    • What does open access mean?
  • When and how can I use resources I find on the internet? 
    • Why can't I use Google? Can I use Google? When can I use Google?
    • Can I use Google Scholar?
  • I'm researching Topic A, but I need to narrow it down and pick something more specific. How do I narrow my topic? 
    • I tried searching for my topic but I can't find anything. What other search words should I try?
  • How do I check out a book?
  • What is in the Media Center? What is in Special Collections?
  • I'm off-campus and having trouble accessing Resource Z. What do I need to do?


Better for an in-person appointment (although you can certainly chat or text us these questions as well):

  • Where can I find background information?
  • How do I find primary sources (or news, peer reviewed articles, statistics, videos, images, whatever you need)?
  • I'm researching Topic A. What kinds of sources should I use and how do I find them?
  • I need help using Special Collections or the Media Center.
  • I need help using my sources.
    • How do I evaluate my sources? What types of things should I look for?
    • How do I synthesize my sources? How should I include my sources in my paper?
    • I can't find many articles on my specific topic. How do I find and use sources that address one part of my research question?
    • What is plagiarism, why is it important, and how do I avoid it?
  • I'm stuck and need help. What should I do first?


These are just an idea to get you started, but we LOVE all your questions! Email, chat, text us, stop by the library, or make an appointment. There is no question too small or too big, and we will work to help you find the information you need. 

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