A day in the life of a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University Library

by Chukwudi Charles Olumba

PhD Candidate at Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria &

NAPP Visiting Scholar at MSU (2019)

My status as a Visiting Scholar under the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project (NAPP) at Michigan State University (MSU) was formalised with my arrival in East Lansing, Michigan USA on Thursday, January 3 2019 from Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria. Following my arrival at MSU, I completed registration formalities, attended orientation meetings and now settled to my academic and research work. On Friday, January 11, 2018, I visited the main library of MSU, where it dawned on me that research need not be a tearful experience! On arrival at the MSU Library, we (two other NAPP visiting scholars and I) were received by Mrs Suzanne Teghtmeyer, an MSU Librarian who conducted the ‘tour of the library! The structure and layout of the library were impressive, clearly well thought out. The entire space within the library was designed to be functional. The library was clean, and it clearly did not matter that there was a huge traffic of people using the library. The library has sections on information and the materials . I was amazed to see that the library has an exhibit for special collections on Africa, and as well the long relationship MSU had with the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria. The entire second floor in the West Wing was full of books for children. All I could see was books, books and books which were updated, clean, well-ordered and definitely well kept. This was impressive. I was very happy. The books were of good quality and had big print and beautiful pictures.

From the left Mr Chukwudi Olumba, Mrs Hephzibah Obekpa, Mrs Suzanne Teghtmeyer (Librarian) and Mrs Balaraba Abubakar (c) 2019 Charles Olumba

Mrs Suzanne showed us how to search for books, government documents, articles, multimedia etc. in the catalog using computers which makes it easier to search for the right resources available in the library compared to the analog ways. I also got acquainted with various resourceful database and materials that MSU subscribed for which wasn’t publicly accessible on the internet, such as STATSnetBASE, SAGE Research Methods, Annual Reviews of Economics, Financial Economics and Resource Economics, among others. The library also has 24 hours helpline, in case one is having difficulties. I am still overwhelmed with the citation program I was introduced to, known as “Mendeley” which enables one to easily organize and Import references, annotate documents and format citations, amongst others, as against my “old fashioned way” of typing them manually.

The tour continued, this time to the East Wing of the library. A section on the second floor was the map library designated to maps of various studies in the world. The center basement in the East Wing was where the majority of the books were kept in an automated shelf. Saw how to locate books with the codes assigned to them. For instance SBs = Agricultural books, HDs = Agricultural Economics. We also toured the third floor where the Turfgrass information center is located. MSU has the largest library devoted to Turfgrass in the world such as, athletic field grass, golf field grass, soccer field grass, etc. People from various countries visit MSU main library to source for the materials on how to build golf field, soccer field, etc. It was a full and generous tour due to the wonderful warmth and hospitality of Mrs Suzanne, who could not have more kind.  Are there any lessons learned, I would say yes! I am anxious to share my experience with the Librarian of the Ebonyi State University, and trust that one day, scholars visiting the library at EBSU would find the library exhilarating as I have found that of MSU!

An exhibit from Africa (Africana Reference) (c) 2019 Charles Olumba

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