Sooner or later, NECC students faced with a research project realize they should probably get to know Laura Mondt.
As reference librarian on the Haverhill campus, Mondt helps students navigate books, periodicals, websites, and databases to uncover that detail or source they need for a research paper or project. While that task may sound easy, it can be frustrating and overwhelming. According to a 2013 “Project Information Literacy’ project, 74% of college freshman have trouble finding the keywords to begin a search and 57% were confused about how to handle irrelevant search results.
Enter Mondt and the other library staff.
“Librarians help students sift through their research and come up with a search strategy to help them find what they are looking for,” Mondt says.
While libraries continue to evolve, Mondt says, the role of librarian has not changed entirely. She admits to being both a navigator and evaluator of information.
“Students usually don’t see us until they need something,” she says. “This is the time I try to ‘wow’ them by taking time to explain what we have and how they can access it. A lot of students are impressed by what they have access to through the library.”
Mondt says she was drawn to the library science field because it combines her interests in research and teaching.
“I like talking with students about research and information literacy because for many of them this is the first time they are viewing the library as more than just a study spot with some books and computers,” she says.
For her part, Mondt says, “I get to learn new things every day. Students come up with a variety of topics I never heard of, yet I have to help them find information. It is neat to explore areas in which I am completely unfamiliar.”
The Chicago native holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in library science from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master’s in history from Eastern Illinois University.
“Library and information science,” she says, “is an interdisciplinary field with influences from information technology, sociology, and psychology…we don’t just read books all day.”
Mondt can be reached at email@example.com
NECC librarians on both the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses field lots of questions from students each semester. Here is a library FAQ.