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HCL Hosts Graduate Student Reception

GSAS reception

Nancy Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, and Brad Schaffner, Head of the Slavic Division of Widener Collection Development, talk with second-year graduate student Kelly Haigh. The College Library recently held a reception to allow graduate students and librarians to get to know one another.

March 11, 2009 - A steady stream of graduate students packed the Edison and Newman Room at Houghton Library on March 4 to meet librarians from the College Library and FAS science libraries. The reception was designed to give students from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) the chance to get acquainted with research and collections librarians in an informal setting.

Though its main purpose is as a social event, the Harvard College Library's FAS Graduate Student Reception also serves an educational goal - graduate students discover more about the extensive services and collections across HCL, and are able to put faces to the names of liaisons and research contacts. Librarians, meanwhile, learn about graduate student research and teaching needs.

"A social event like this one gives graduate students an opportunity to meet librarians in a more relaxed and collegial environment," said Elizabeth McKeigue, a research librarian at Widener Library and one of the reception's organizers. "It is a great way for us as librarians to get to know graduate students and to talk about their needs."

Nancy Cline, the Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, welcomed students to the event, and summarized many of the resources students will have at their disposal as they continue their scholarship at Harvard. One of the most important resources, graduate student Kelly Haigh said, is the Library's staff of Research Librarians, who possess expertise in a dizzying array of subject areas, and can help students and researchers quickly locate the materials they need.

"I've had a chance to experience first-hand the unparalleled service that Reference Librarians provide Harvard's academic community," said Haigh, who also works as a part-time Reference Assistant at the Atkins Reference Desk in Widener Library. "Graduate and undergraduate students at Harvard have the incredible benefit of working with Research Librarians who have expertise in an astonishingly wide array of subjects. I cannot imagine students anywhere else in the world enjoying such a fine network of librarians as students at Harvard do."

 "The reception not only gives librarians and the graduate students they work with a chance to talk informally together, it also provided a relaxing setting for students from different departments and programs to meet one another," said Laura Farwell Blake, Interim Head of Research Services at Widener Library. "It also offers librarians the chance to chat with one another and, in some cases, to meet new library colleagues. This was a lovely unanticipated benefit of what was already a lively and welcome event."

Tom Horrocks, Associate Librarian for Collections at Houghton Library, also addressed students, highlighting Houghton's ongoing "Harvard's Lincoln" exhibition.

The event was organized by McKeigue, Kathleen Sheehan, a Research Librarian at Widener Library, and Rachel Howarth, Associate Librarian for Public Services at Houghton Library, with assistance from Monique Duhaime, Staff Assistant at Houghton Library.

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Drew Massey, left, a fifth-year graduate student in Music, and
Evan MacCarthy, a sixth-year graduate student in Music,
attended the reception.

Sixth-year Physics student Lashkar Kashif talks with Michael Hemment, Head of Research and Learning Technology.

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First-year Physics student Sujit Datta, left, talks with second-year Physics student Eleanor Millman. Library Professional Michael Blake, left, and Interim Head of Lamont Library Martin Schreiner, talk with fifth-year Computer Science student Joseph Barillari.