Q&A With Library Director Laura Walton

By Ellie Walburg on April 5, 2018

With online databases and this little thing called "Google," it may be tempting to think that packing up your backpack to visit a library is unnecessary.

Wait a minute.

Yes, today's library environment looks different than it did 20 years ago. You can look up a book's call number by searching online. You can remember the book's due date by an email rather than a paper folder in the front of the book. Today's kids may scratch their heads as to what a card catalog is.

Technology has changed the way we work but that doesn't mean our work is removed.

Libraries may be just as important now as they were 20 years ago, although the services offered and the way students are served have changed.

When you're overwhelmed with the need to research and find sources for your paper, your librarian and library services can come to the rescue.

Interview with Laura Walton

Here, we chat with Laura Walton who serves as library director for Cornerstone University's Miller Library.

Headshot of Laura Walton

As director, Laura is an instrumental player in coordinating programs and resources in the library. Here, she shares her passion for working at a library, equipping students for academic success.

What do you enjoy most about leading the library?

Laura: I get to lead a team of highly qualified individuals who are passionate about serving the students here at Cornerstone University.

What's your favorite book?

Laura: This is not an easy question for a book lover! I have always loved "Anne of Green Gables" and have read it many times over.

If you could research any topic what would it be?

Laura: I would love to spend more time researching women's rights around the world and learning how to improve access to education.

In the US, it is very easy to take for granted the education that we all receive. Public education is far from perfect in our country, but it is available to all. This is simply not the case for many women around the world.

What does your role as library director include?

Laura: As library director, one of my main goals is to make sure my staff is equipped to do the work they need to. I make sure they are empowered to be creative and innovative in order to move the mission of the library forward.

I also have the opportunity to work with many departments across campus in order to make sure we have the resources and technology needed to support all of the course work and research at Cornerstone.

What services does the library offer in researching information for assignments and papers?

Laura: The library offers one-on-one research assistance for all students either in-person, over the phone, and via email or chat. We can help students navigate the many resources in the library. We can also help with citation styles and citation tools as well.

Open book and notebook on a table in a library

How do library services show a dedication to helping students where they're at?

Laura: We offer many different types of materials to fit the needs of all our students, and we are continually trying to make it easier for students to find them. Online resources give our students 24/7 access to the information they need.

The library may feel overwhelming to some students when they first enter—either in the actual library building or online. What's a good first step for someone new to library services?

Laura: If you don't know where to start, talk to one of the librarians! We can show you around the physical library and/or website and show you materials relevant to your individual studies and program. We have a lot of great resources and tools that students often don't know about until the end of their CU career.

Why are library services valuable resources? Why can't students just Google and find information that way?

Laura: In the age of Google and "fake news," it is important to know how to find trustworthy and quality news and information sources. Libraries can help students navigate the flood of information that is available and help them know how to use that information in an academic and ethical way.

What are some of the most common questions you receive from students?

Laura: Students often come in and need help finding "peer-reviewed" sources for their paper. We are lucky to have a library search (i.e., Summon) that lets you filter results to get those peer-reviewed articles.

Stack of book with colorful covers

What are some of the biggest challenges students experience in researching process?

Laura: Students often do not leave themselves enough time to do good research. Start researching right away and don't expect to get all of your research done in 10 minutes. Taking the time to develop a research question, write down some keywords and use the filters on the search tool will more likely have success.

Also, if we don't have a particular resource at our library, we can most likely get it from another library free of charge. This process takes time, so don't wait to start researching until the night before an assignment is due.

What advice would you provide for new students about the assistance the library provides?

Laura: Utilize all of the resources on the website—including the librarians! The online subject guides are a great starting point. Each subject specialist has compiled a group of databases, journals, books and other materials dedicated to that discipline. This is a great place to start your research if you don't know where to go.

Visit a Library

Whether you visit a library online or walk into the brick-and-mortar building, you can find helpful resources and tools offered through a library. Quality research leads to a quality paper, so be sure to find the best sources.

Set your online search engine aside and visit a library.

Category: Academic Resources