Reference Services

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Research & Instruction Services

The reference department at each library provides assistance for all levels of research needs and information literacy instruction to UML community.

Reference Assistance is provided every day the libraries are open. Reference librarians are also available until 9:00pm on nights when the libraries are open. Library hours are posted online. For Holidays or during inclement weather call O’Leary Reference (978-934-4554) or Lydon Reference (978-934-3213) for availability.

Research Services

  • Ready Reference is available for simple directional information or factual questions that can be answered from an online or print source.
  • Individual reference desk assistance is available for general questions, starting a term paper or troubleshooting. The librarian on duty can recommend the best print and online sources for the topic being researched. Important search strategies can also be part of the assistance.
  • Research consultations can be scheduled for intermediate or advanced research needs. Contact a Research Librarian to identify a subject specialist. A reference specialist can identify specific print and electronic resources and develop the necessary search strategies to make information gathering the most productive. For advanced research needs the librarian may require advanced preparation. Please allow three days prior to the consultation.
  • Library Instruction Sessions can be requested for undergraduate or graduate courses to demonstrate and explain available resources, search strategy development and citation formatting. For more information, see Library Instruction or request a session.
  • Telephone Inquiries can be made to the Reference Desk at either library:
    • Lydon Library (North Campus): 978-934-3213
    • O’Leary Library (South Campus): 978-934-4554

Library Instruction Program

The Mission of the library's instruction program is to educate the UMass Lowell community on the increasingly complicated information environment. In keeping with this mission and the information literacy objectives formulated by the American Library Association (ALA), reference librarians work collaboratively with faculty to offer various types of instruction from informal, point-of-need to tailored class sessions. Both Lydon and O’Leary libraries have state–of-the-art instruction/search labs called Electronic Reference Centers (ERC). Lydon Library can accommodate up to 30 students. O’Leary Library can accommodate up to 54 students, with two at each workstation.

  • Course-integrated instruction provides instruction in information competency skills, library research methods, and the use of information sources in all formats and disciplines. When a lot of material is to be covered, it is recommended that two class sessions be scheduled.
    To schedule class sessions:
    • Fill out the form to request a session.
    • Connect directly with a subject specialist.
    • Call Lydon Reference on North Campus at 978-934-3213 or O'Leary Reference on South Campus at 978-934-4554.
  • Library workshops are scheduled throughout the semester and are designed as orientations to the specifics of the University Libraries. In-depth workshops are offered on a variety of topics. Consult the Library Schedule of Classes calendar for times and subjects.
  • Individual reference desk assistance is available anytime a reference librarian is on duty, until 9:00pm on nights when the libraries are open. (see Library hours).
  • One-on-one consultations can be scheduled to help with in depth research questions. This process can also entail identifying relevant resources as well as formulating and executing necessary search strategies. Call Lydon Reference on North Campus at 978-934-3213 or O'Leary Reference on South Campus at 978-934-4554 or connect with a subject specialist.
  • Consulting Services: Librarians will work with faculty to discuss library resources available to support course assignments and assist faculty in developing specific library assignments.
  • Faculty Institutes. Librarians offer a variety of special workshops for faculty during the Winter or Summer Institutes sponsored by the Faculty Teaching Center. Departmental sessions can also be arranged to update faculty about changes and/or new resources in their discipline.

American Library Association Information Literacy Objectives:

  • Identify and define information requirements for a given research question or problem
  • Construct effective research strategies
  • Locate and retrieve relevant information using a variety of tools
  • Evaluate various types of information
  • Organize and synthesize data
  • Present information in a variety of formats
  • Understand the ethical, legal and socio-political issues surrounding information and information technology

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