Librarians can help

Librarians are here to help!

Librarians can play a valuable role in helping you find information and refine your information skills. This module discusses some of the ways that librarians can be helpful to you during your time at TCNJ.

This entire IDS 102 course is designed to help you become a more adept researcher who can work in largely self-directed ways. Courses in your major will also foster some degree of independence by developing your information skills as they relate to your field of study. To be sure, the goal is for you to (eventually) work with a high degree of independence. However, the time is likely to arise when you would benefit from reaching out for help.

Through our Ask A Librarian service, librarians at TCNJ are available to answer a wide range of questions through email, live chat, and text.


*Why* Ask A Librarian? Any college student is capable of answering a wide variety of questions on their own. But everyone hits a bump in the road sometimes. Librarians are specialists who spend their entire workday (and entire career) creating, refining, teaching, and troubleshooting information systems and processes. Librarians know their stuff. There are very few questions that librarians haven’t encountered before. They can help.


How can librarians help? There is a wide range of challenges that librarians can help you overcome. Here are some:

  • Defining and refining a topic.
  • Identifying and using better search words.
  • Finding sources that offer an argument or point of view on a topic.
  • Choosing a database to explore perspectives on a topic.
  • Finding data and other forms of evidence.
  • Help formatting bibliographies and works cited pages (e.g., APA, MLA)
  • Troubleshooting access to a specific resource or piece of material.


Subject-specialist librarians for advanced research. For each major/department at TCNJ, there is a subject-specialist librarian assigned to support its students and faculty. That means that for every course of study that a student might be pursuing, there’s a librarian who has subject-area knowledge to help. For most questions/issues, Ask A Librarian  (mentioned above) is the ideal place to start. But if you have a big research project within your major, consider reaching out to book a research consultation with the librarian assigned to your academic department. These consultations can be particularly helpful in the more advanced segments of academic programs (for example, in a major’s research methods course, or in a capstone course).

Remember Ask A Librarian. The next time you find yourself struggling, consider reaching out for help. At, librarians are available to answer questions through email, live chat, and text. Hours for this service can be found here (under the “Reference Services” heading).