Cushwa-Leighton Library to celebrate National Library Week
Gina Twardosz | Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Read all about it — National Library Week is April 7-13, and the Cushwa-Leighton Library is ready to celebrate. The week seeks to spotlight the contributions librarians make to students and lifelong learners everywhere.
Ula Gaha, a reference and instruction librarian, said this year’s National Library Week theme is “Libraries = Strong Communities.”
“National Library Week is a celebration that highlights the valuable role librarians and library workers play in strengthening our communities,” Gaha said. “Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) chooses a different theme.”
While Gaha said National Library Week spreads much awareness about the usefulness of libraries, it is geared more towards public libraries than academic libraries like Cushwa-Leighton.
“I think it’s great that the American Library Association does this, but academic libraries are so different from public libraries,” she said. “I think the ALA during National Library Week really focuses on the work that public libraries do and the services that they offer to the larger community.”
In honor of the theme, Gaha said the library’s social media is focused on Cushwa-Leighton’s own community, particularly new library director Joseph Thomas.
While the library fosters its own small community, Gaha said the library is also important to the greater Saint Mary’s community.
“The library is the heart of everything on Saint Mary’s campus, and the librarians seek to foster student success,” she said.
The library is a quiet place on campus where all kinds of students can come together to get their work done, Gaha said.
“The library is a meeting place for all kinds of people across campus,” she said. “We like to be able to support people doing their work.”
Sophomore Chido Moyo said she often either studies or just relaxes in the library.
“The library is my go-to place,” she said. “It’s a great place to lounge — there’s a lot of leisure books to sit and read, and there are plenty of couches.”
Gaha said the main part of her job as librarian is teaching students how to effectively utilize all the resources the library has to offer.
“The biggest part of my job is to perform library instruction where I go into classrooms and teach students how to find the resources they need for whatever they’re working on and how to use the tools on our website as well as in our catalogue,” Gaha said. “I often find myself giving advice on how to perform the research as well as writing advice.”
Gaha said a lot of what the librarians do is answer any and all of students’ general research questions.
“A huge part of what we do is make ourselves available for general questions,” she said. “My area of expertise is in gender and women’s studies, sociology and social work, but I can help any student get started with their research.”
The most exciting part of coming into work each day, Gaha said, is helping Saint Mary’s students with their interesting research topics and questions.
“I end up learning a whole bunch of stuff because whatever students are researching, I’m helping them find the resources for it,” she said.