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'They belong in that space': UNC libraries welcome new and returning students


Students study in Davis Library on Monday, March 6, 2022.

At the heart of the various UNC library locations around campus are the people who support students, faculty and community members, María Estorino, vice provost for University Libraries and university librarian, said.

Each library location serves as a service point for the libraries as a whole, Estorino said. Staff are available in each library to provide students with necessities like study spaces, help with assignments, access to materials or training.

Popular libraries

Three of the most-visited libraries on campus are Davis Library, the Undergraduate Library and Wilson Library.

Davis holds research collections for the humanities and social sciences, and includes specialized information such as government documents and datasets. Students can also utilize its eight floors for studying.

Suchi Mohanty, head of the Undergraduate Library and the interim director of access services for the University Libraries, said that Davis implemented noise zone guidelines last fall to give students guidance in finding a study space to fit their needs.

The Undergraduate Library has collections geared towards first- and second-year undergraduate students. Mohanty said the library also has a collection of popular titles and its media collection is used by undergraduates, graduates and faculty for research.

Wilson Library is the home of the Special Collections, where students and other researchers use primary sources specializing in the American South and campus history. 

Many in-person and online exhibitions are also offered to provide the opportunity for students to learn about items from the Special Collections, even when they aren't in Wilson Library. 

“When you come to Wilson and look at original documents, you get to decide based on those documents whether you agree with what other authors have said or not, and why you agree or disagree," Nadia Clifton, the Special Collections engagement librarian, said. "So your interpretations, students' interpretations, become part of the research conversation."

The Fearrington Reading Room, located on the third floor, is a designated quiet study space on campus. Clifton said she often went there as a student to help her concentrate and get work done.

Mohanty said that the libraries have knowledgeable and talented library staff who are there to support students’ research and learning. She said every undergraduate student should make an appointment to talk to their librarian and to take advantage of the workshops the libraries offer. 

“We really want students to feel comfortable and safe asking us for research or asking us questions that are a little less structured when they need them," Mohanty said. "And they can do that at any library on campus." 

Specialized libraries

Within University Libraries, seven libraries are specialized for specific disciplines of study. These include the Health Sciences Library, Sloane Art Library, the Music Library, Kenan Science Library, Information and Library Science Library and the Stone Center Library. The Law Library is also loosely part of the system as well.

The Kenan Science Library helps students and researchers work within the natural sciences field through their online collections and databases. 

Therese Triumph, head of Kenan Science Library, said she likes it when students see that the library supports different learning capabilities.

“What we always say about our Makerspace is: making is another style of learning,” Triumph said. 

The Makerspace, located within the library, allows students and faculty to explore emerging technologies, like 3D printing, while also fostering collaboration through programs like the seed library.

The Health Sciences Library provides space for health affairs students to convene and reserve study rooms.

Michelle Cawley, interim associate University librarian for Health Sciences and director of the Health Sciences Library, said the library provides a multitude of resources, such as training on using bibliographic software and peer-review journals, that students can use to help them in their research or assignments.

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“It's pretty thrilling, to not only do world-class research, but we're doing it on things that are affecting the world, it's things that are happening right here,” she said.

Estorino said she wants the campus community to know that “these are your libraries."

“We definitely encourage students to have the confidence to step into any library space and know that just by being part of Carolina's community, they belong in that space,” Estorino said.

@madisongagnon9 | @dailytarheel