Freshman Class Gets Own Librarian

Liz Cooper Provides Resources, Connections, Introductions for Freshmen

Published 11-04-2009

Walking into a college library as a freshman can be a little intimidating -- Liz Cooper and her fellow librarians on the services team at the Robert W. Woodruff Library hope to change that experience for Emory freshmen by offering them a familiar face to turn to in the library.

Cooper serves as Freshman Class Librarian, connecting freshmen with the library resources, people, tools and training they need to succeed.

 “Because freshmen haven’t yet declared a major, they often don’t get referred to an individual subject librarian as graduate students or upperclassmen do,” said Cooper, an Emory librarian for six years. “Having a class librarian gives the newest members of the Emory community a personal connection to the library.”

 The class librarian program is modeled on a similar program in use at the University of Chicago since 2002, says Frances Maloy, Woodruff Library services division leader.

 “We’re excited about exposing students as early as possible to the wide variety of resources in the Library,” Maloy said.

Cooper, an anthropology and journalism librarian who leads reference services, is available to visit classes, clubs, dorm meetings and other gatherings of freshmen inside and outside of the library. She also can help freshman group project teams or individuals get connected with a librarian who can get them started finding materials for their work.

“College and the information resources available today can be overwhelming – your class librarian is someone who can help navigate it for you,” Cooper said. “We can help freshmen learn how to evaluate a source, where to start on a paper, and offer referrals to subject librarians or others who can provide valuable information. We can also make them aware of the tools Emory offers for searching digital and print holdings here, as well as at other universities.”

 Cooper especially wants to help students learn to dig deeper than the resources that Google offers.

“Google is great, but some wonderful resources are not available there,” Cooper said. “For example, a lot of quality information is restricted to institutions, such as Emory, that pay for access for their students and faculty. Students have the ability to find a lot more data than they might have expected. By the same token, a lot of government information is free, but Google doesn’t dig deep enough to find it. These are areas where having a contact with a librarian can make a big difference in the quality of the research material a student finds.”

Cooper holds an MLIS from the University of Texas-Austin, an M.A. from American University in Cairo,and a B.A. in English and philosophy from Texas A&M University.

To meet Cooper or arrange for her to visit your class, freshman organization or ask for her assistance, contact her at 404.727.0115 or at

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