The Personal Librarian Project

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What is the Personal Librarian Project?

For many first year students navigating through university can be a little bit daunting. However, the Personal Librarian Project gives first year students a point of contact (by email, phone or face to face) to help answer their questions or help point them in the direction of getting the answers that they need. In this project, first year students are paired with a librarian who sends the student emails highlighting key information resources students might find useful during specific times of the year and other useful tips.

At Engineering & Computer Science Library (ECSL), we are committed to enhancing first year experience, developing outreach opportunities and ensuring that the student body develops important information literacy skills during their scholastic endeavors. Through the Personal Librarian Project, students are encouraged to contact their Personal Librarian at ECSL to:

  • Ask questions to get pointed in the right direct for help;
  • Book one-on-one consultations if they have a difficult research question;
  • Get a tour of the library and its resources;
  • And so much more!


Feedback from Engineering & Computer Science Students

We are continuing to send out emails to our students and getting a lot of positive feedback for pointing them in the direction of resources that they might find useful.

What are first year students saying about the Personal Librarian Project? Here are just a few of the many positive comments about the project:

  • “This is undeniably the greatest support that any student can hope for and as matter of fact few students get to have such a privilege.”
  • “It is great to know that this university is able to provide us with so many resources and to me you happen to be one of the top on my list!”
  • “I am delighted to hear that I am going to have this opportunity of working with a librarian in order to enhance my learning prospects!”
  • “I'm glad there are such great resources here at UofT.”
  • “This is a really cool idea! I can’t wait to get started.”
  • “I am glad to hear from you because I can't help looking forward to using the facilities in the huge library.”
  • “I was really happy to hear that someone can help me with getting familiar with library system of “U of T.”


History of the Personal Librarian Project at ECSL

The Personal Librarian Project was first started at University of Toronto in 2012.  The initial pilot project, which paired a group of Arts & Science students with a personal librarian, received praise from those involved.  All first year Arts & Science, including Computer Science students, are now a part of this full-scale initiative.

The ECSL librarians felt that joining the Personal Librarian Project would be of benefit to our students and decided to run our own pilot project in 2013. The engineering version of this project included an emphasis on tailoring support to engineering students by introducing important engineering resources and tying email help to reflect first year engineering courses. Recently, we informed the first year students about our new Engineering Undergraduate Library Skills Workshop Series that ties into the University of Toronto’s Co-curricular Record.

In 2013, ESCL’s pilot project that consisted of 300 first-year students was so well received that it was expanded to include all 1,200+ first year engineering students. Following the success of 2013’s Personal Librarian Project pilot, the ECSL opened up this highly popular initiative to include all first year engineering students in 2014.

ECSL Personal Librarians 2015 photos



In early October 2014, the Engineering & Computer Science Library held a Meet & Greet for first year engineering students, offering them snacks, chances to win gift cards, tours of the library and a chance to talk one-on-one with their own personal librarian!  Over 100 students turned out during the two-hour event. Students were very happy to attend and had many questions about the library and our resources.  Some students asked if we could host another Meet & Greet in the winter since they had such a great time and we are looking into this possibility.

We used the theme of comic book/super hero librarian to increase the outreach component of the project by tapping into a favourite pastime of many of our students. Upon arrival at the Meet & Greet, each student was given a mini comic book about some need-to-know library facts and other fun tidbits of library information. Tying into the comic book theme our introductory letter to our students also included a comic book video, which was quite popular and helped to break the ice.

Photos of ECSL librarians from 2014