SUNY Geneseo’s “research librarians” page on the school website lists nine different people who could be classified as research librarians, primarily divided by their subject. We chose to meet with Sue Ann Brainard, who focuses on the subjects of History and English and Literature, which seemed appropriate for a project that is ultimately historical research on a piece of literature, even if admittedly an event that happened only just over a decade ago with a series of children’s novels. The skills are certainly the same, though.
Going into this meeting, Lauren, my partner in this project, and I, were unsure about what we were going to get out of it. We had already found quite a few news articles regarding the banning of The Golden Compass in the Halton Catholic School District in Halton, Ontario. We figured that we already had what we needed/could get from databases/the internet.
Brainard was extremely welcoming, and more helpful than my ever-pessimistic self was expecting. She very quickly had for us a list of databases that would be potentially useful, and found several useful articles that we were unable to find, as well as managing to locate on online database containing historical records from the Halton Catholic School District, as well as the parochial schools which preceded it. We were only able to meet for half an hour due to the constraints of my class schedule, but she still had a very comprehensive list of potential sources and locations of sources that she emailed to us immediately after our meeting.
She also had quite a bit of experience and wisdom that she imparted upon us on how best to get documents out of institutions, and directed us to question the education research librarian further if we had additional difficulty obtaining data, which we so far have not had to do.
Brainard specifically pushed upon us several databases of newspapers, namely InfoTrac Newsstand (Gale), Newspaper Source Plus, Google News Archive Search, New York Times Article Archive, and the database of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC, which is obviously useful because of the Canadian location of our case. Some of these we certainly would have thought of on our own, but others, such as the CBC database, were useful additions that would not have come to mind unprompted. Overall, despite relatively low expectations for this meeting, and being unsure what we would get out of it, Lauren and I firmly agreed that the meeting with one of our research librarians, Sue Ann Brainard, was well worth the time as more than simply a box to check for class. Have a pretty picture!