LibGuidesOne of the hardest parts of researching can be figuring out where to start. This past August, Van Wylen Library added a new tool to help you find the library sources that are most relevant to your topic: LibGuides.

LibGuides are electronic guides that feature easy access to research information. Though the exact material on a LibGuide varies from guide to guide, LibGuides can include many different sources, including books from HopeCat, databases for article research, lists of high quality websites, RSS feeds, and even YouTube videos. They also often provide tips on using these tools. In addition, all guides include contact information for the librarian who created the guide, so that you can get in touch with him or her if you have questions.

The librarians at Hope are excited about the many ways in which LibGuides help their teaching. According to Todd Wiebe, a reference librarian: “In the past I have printed off paper handouts containing library research information for specific courses. Thankfully, LibGuides have put a long overdue halt to this practice. LibGuides are more dynamic and have the ability to link students directly to relevant library resources. Last but certainly not least, online library guides saves trees!”

One of the particularly convenient things about LibGuides is their availability. “It gives students a quick and easy way to remember and go back to the things they learned about,” Jessica Hronchek, Reference Librarian, said.

Another benefit of LibGuides is that they can be updated at any time. Dead links can be easily removed and new information can be placed on a guide as it becomes available: all things that aren’t possible on a printout.

If you haven’t had a class with a library session, LibGuides can still be very helpful. All of the major subject areas offered at Hope have their own general LibGuide, which can provide you with a starting place for subject research. Class-specific LibGuides are also available to students not enrolled in that particular class. For example, one of the classes with a LibGuide is Religion 345: The Reformation. If you needed to do research on the Reformation for another class, you can still access the Religion 345 LibGuide, where you can find research help for general information, books, articles and primary sources.

Right now, the library is continuing to increase the number of guides available. In the future, they would like to include more topical guides, such as student publishing, the annual Critical Issues Symposium, and other events on campus.

— Bethany Stripp, Library Student Blogger

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