Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Student Services Spotlight: the Eshleman Library

Students in the library

This article is part of a series highlighting our Student Services offices and what they can do for you. For information about all HFC student services, please visit the Student Services and Campus Resources sections of our website.


Because students are unable to come to the Eshleman Library in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Library team is offering a robust set of online support services.

“Students can reach out to us for any of their library needs, such as obtaining a library card/barcode, accessing the library's online databases, troubleshooting technical issues, and locating and evaluating sources for their research assignments,” said HFC Director of the Library and Academic Support Services Kate Harger.

Librarians assist with students’ individual research needs online

The library has tens of thousands of eBooks that students can access at no cost, using their HFC library credentials. Library staff is focusing this year's purchasing efforts on buying additional eBooks instead of print materials, according to Harger.

HFC librarians are able to do a number of things to assist with students' individual research needs. Most notably, librarians offer synchronous online library instruction within any HFC course via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, so that students can learn the basics of how to do library research.

The library's online databases contain information geared toward college-level research, and they offer a wide variety of types/formats of information. Students can access the following:

  • Journal articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • eBooks, videos
  • Resources for their research assignments

Once students have gathered all of their information, librarians can assist them with any questions regarding APA or MLA citation.

Tips when doing a research assignment

Harger has some advice for students who are doing a research assignment:

  1. Start your research as early as possible, so that you'll have time to find sources and get help if you run into any barriers
  2. If you’ve been searching a library database for more than 10-15 minutes and you're still not finding what you need, ask a librarian for help

“We've been able to quickly get students a library barcode, even though the library is closed, and we've helped many students with their research assignments. Our online library resources have been able to meet the needs of every student research project we've assisted with during this pandemic,” said Harger. “We can help guide them through the entire research process – from formulating their research questions to locating and evaluating sources.”

“Ask a Librarian” live online chat

Harger has initiated a new “Ask a Librarian” function in the midst of this pandemic, which is a live online chat option running Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Live chat is going very well. It's a quick and easy way for students to get help from a librarian,” she said. “The service is becoming more and more popular. While it still represents a relatively small percentage of the total questions we receive from students, that percentage is increasing. Some students have a preference for chat versus email or phone, so I'm happy that we're able to offer that service to them.”

Since moving to online operations, library staff has answered more than 760 questions on “Ask a Librarian.” Of those questions, 27 percent were chat sessions.

Fantastic online databases are free to HFC students

“We're all in this together. Hang in there! Help is available. Don't hesitate to reach out to HFC academic support service areas like the library and the Learning Lab for assistance,” said Harger. “Take advantage of the talented HFC Librarians who are always ready to help. They are research experts who can guide you through any research assignment you have at HFC. The library has a ton of fantastic online databases that are free to you as an HFC student, and these online resources offer everything you need to be successful in your research assignments.”

Students can reach the library staff in a variety of ways. They can contact librarians by phone, email, text message, as well as the live online chat “Ask a Librarian.” All the ways to reach the Eshleman Library are on its website.