Subject Liaisons are librarians who focus on specific topics. They have a robust knowledge of library resources and are happy to assist with research and answer questions, large and small!
Today we’re interviewing Abby Flanigan, who is the Research Librarian for Music and Performing Arts.
What are some of the specific ways you can help people learning and working in your subject specialty area(s)?
I can help you track down hard-to-find musical scores and recordings, navigate our music and performing arts databases, determine how to cite alternative formats, or manage your resources in a citation manager like Zotero.
What’s a key message you’d like people at UVA to know about the Library?
Make use of all the resources the library has to offer—including the librarians! Navigating a library system as big and complicated as ours is difficult and nobody knows how to do it instantaneously. If you get stuck at any point during the research process, we are here to help!
If someone comes to you for help, what does that look like?
It depends! There are a lot of students who I meet with only once, when they have a particularly challenging assignment and find my information on the library website. But often I see students for the first time in a class session, then meet with them one-on-one, then help via email afterwards. With faculty and grad students, I’m much more likely to work together long-term.
What are some research challenges you enjoy?
I love the “there’s nothing published on my topic” challenge. Helping a student figure out whether they need to broaden their topic, change their keywords, change the place they’re searching, or find peripherally related literature is a fun challenge, and it’s always so satisfying when we finally crack the case!
What’s a resource you think people in your subject area(s) aren’t very aware of, but would find useful?
I don’t think many people realize how many audio tracks we have access to. The Naxos Music Library, Database of Recorded American Music, and Music and Performing Arts collections from Alexander Street Press are all databases where you can search for music, or limit your search in our catalog by format to “streaming audio.”
What’s a recent book you’ve read that you’d recommend? (work-related or not, up to you!)
For fun: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
For work: Information Literacy in Music: An Instructor’s Companion.
What’s a place or an activity you enjoy in Charlottesville?
- Nachos at Beer Run
- Hiking Humpback Rock
- Yoga classes at ACAC and NOWyoga
- Trivia night at Firefly
What do you enjoy about your job?
My favorite part of my job is doing research consultations with students and faculty. I love being able to help people research more effectively and efficiently and, as a bonus, I get to learn about something new almost every time. I also love working with such a great group of people at the Library. Everyone cares about making the library a welcoming space and experience to all our users, and we work hard at it every day.
Is there anything else you’d want people to know about you?
I’m also a pianist, and I love being part of the music community at UVA as an accompanist!
“My class learned so much from you. They all said they wished they had done it earlier. Would you be willing to come back?”
“Thanks so much again for a great library class! The class page and the slides were so helpful, and the activity really helped the students navigate the library resources on their own.”
“Thanks again for the helpful info and chat. It seems like librarians know tons of stuff that all scholars should, but my own particular path has left me clueless on a lot of stuff!”