De-mystifying the Library: Laurin Paradise

by RICHARD GERLING, Staff Writer

Laurin Paradise began working at Manhattan College in 2017 in the O’Malley Library as a Reference and Instruction Librarian. After wanting a career switch, she went to library school  at Pratt Institute to gain experience in this field.

“I really liked the aspect of librarianship of helping people solve problems with information, which I was always good at,” said Paradise. “I went into library stuff because I like learning new things…. I also got interested in digital humanities and reference type stuff. Fortunately, that is exactly what Manhattan College was looking for: someone that had experience with working with reference stuff and help with digital humanities type stuff. And here I am.”

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Paradise began working at Manhattan College after studying at Pratt Institute. MANHATTAN COLLEGE / COURTESY

As a part of her job, Paradise holds instruction sessions to help students begin researching and writing their papers. She contacts the professors in her subject areas at the beginning of the semester and asks if they want her to come in.

Paradise said, “I design a presentation on what they say the assignment is for the students and what kinds of questions the students usually have.

She continued.

“Generally, I work in how to look for resources and how to figure out what kind of resources they are and how to tie it all in with citations. They can contact me or their professor if they’re not really sure if what they found works,” she said.

As a librarian at the college, Paradise is available for students to ask questions when it comes to writing papers. She is the library liaison for the communication department and helps students when it comes to papers in this field.

Paradise said, “Don’t be scared to call your librarian if you’re having problems with your paper. You’re not bugging us. We’re here to help you.… Seek help from the library if you are having trouble finding stuff for your paper.”

She continued.

“[Students] can definitely make a research appointment with us, and I always like to include too that it’s a good idea to have all of the different associated terms that have to do with your topic…. I know students get really anxious sometimes as they’re just starting researching their paper because they don’t know where to start,” she said

She emphasizes that students should not hesitate to seek help from the library.

Paradise said, “Come please. Bug us. Don’t pass in a paper that you’re not happy with or your professor won’t be happy with when you can sit down and twenty minutes later have some idea how to cite it or some place to start looking…. Seek help from the library if you are having trouble finding stuff for your paper.”

The O’Malley Library has many resources for students to use when it comes to writing papers whether it is for English or any of the other departments. There are research guides for every major at the college that has advice on which databases fit that major and information on how to do citations for that field as well.

She concluded that librarianship is about helping students figure out how and where to start writing their papers.

Paradise said, “Librarianship isn’t about knowing all the answers, just knowing where to go look for them. We help you know where to look for the answers, so you guys can find out what they are.”