Roving Research Cart roams Parkland with answers
The Roving Research Cart is Parkland Library’s newest project. It started this semester with the intent to provide students with help and information at convenient locations throughout campus.
The goal is to “perform as many of the library functions as we can out away from the library,” said Eric Sizemore, who is the founder of the cart, a librarian at Parkland, and one of the people who pushes the Roving Research Cart around campus.
“I can look up databases, I can show you how to do research, I can show how to make properly cited bibliographies and citations [whether its] APA, MLA, [etc.]” Sizemore said.
Currently there aren’t a lot of questions being asked by students as the idea is still new. Sizemore said there are a lot of “directional questions, especially the first couple weeks of the semester.”
In the first couple of weeks of the Roving Research Cart roaming around campus, students have been informed about different services the library offers, some that they didn’t previously know about.
“A lot of times, I found that once I found someone and have captured their attention, they tend to look at me skeptically as though they know what the libraries do,” Sizemore said. “‘I know what libraries do, they do books!’ So then I just sit there and rattle off the different things we do that they don’t know about.”
The Roving Research Cart lets students know that you can check out things like a GoPro, a Chromebook, or phone chargers. Students can also learn about the library’s 3D printer and color printing services.
The library hasn’t completely formalized the schedule of where the cart will be when yet.
“We’re still exploring various times and places throughout the campus to gage where the most people are, and where they need help,” Sizemore said.
Students are often in a rush or don’t realize that the Roving Research Cart is there.
“It’s such a tight window of time you have with someone’s attention. I haven’t quite refined the elevator speech,” Sizemore said.
So far, the most popular location, where most students inquire about information, was near the staircase by the library and the U-wing.
The Roving Research Cart faculty are meant to be able to answer basically any question, just as librarians can at the library.
“You can google it, but that’s like trying to drink water out of a firehose, whereas a librarian will figure out how to bring you that one perfect glass of water,” Sizemore said. “We got a million answers in need of a good question.”
Librarians can not only help with questions about books and research, but can also help students and members of the community with general things, like healthcare and taxes.
“One of the things that’s most rewarding is [when] I get veterans who want assistance in filling out their forms on properly getting their benefits; we can do that anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection,” Sizemore said.
In the future, Sizemore would like to expand on the Roving Research Cart to include more services.
“I’d still like to be able to check out books. I’d still like to have a second cart with books, see if I can push books, hopefully introducing that service soon,” Sizemore said.
“I’d like to get to the point where I’m not stinted by any question that’s library related; it’s interesting to see how far we can push this, pun intended,” said Sizemore, on where he hopes the Roving Research Cart will go.
Ultimately the goal of the Roving Research Cart is to see “how can we promote the library as best as possible and how can we let the people know we’re here to help,” Sizemore said.
Find the Roving Research Cart on a hallway near you and stop by for any questions or visit the Parkland library’s page on facebook.com for updates on the Roving Research Cart.