All posts by Kim Duckett

My Duke Library: Christine Wei’s Perspective

Christine Wei is majoring in Public Policy with a minor in Education. About her Duke experience she says, “Duke’s been a big part of my life since 2013; I was originally in the Class of 2017 and had to take two years off because I went through a mid-college-career crisis. Since then, I’ve shifted my priorities to put health first ahead of everything else and found myself happier and healthier than before. The only project I’ve been working on is a kindness and happiness-based one. I try to look for one to three positive moments in each day and document those to focus more on the positive rather than the negative, particularly in a world dominated by tragic news.”


How has the library impacted your Duke experience?

Librarians have helped me with my research in almost every class. I’ve needed to access databases and refine searches for peer-reviewed articles and more. Duke Libraries also offered employment through my work-study, and that’s been helpful beyond words.

Duke student Christine Wei in Perkins Library

What’s something you’ve discovered in the library?

I’ve rediscovered my innate curiosity for the way things work and why things are the way they are. For instance, I haven’t taken many natural science courses since high school, so learning more about popular science can be eye-opening.

What’s a favorite space or service? And why?

I love talking to librarians by the Perkins Service Desk. Doing so reminds me I’m always a part of something more and that collaboration trumps competition every time.

Christine’s library pro tip:

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You’ll often find more than you expected.

My Duke Library is a project of the Research and Instructional Services department.

My Duke Library: Elizabeth Smithwick’s Perspective

Hello! My name is Elizabeth Smithwick and I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. I am a senior at Duke studying chemistry. My undergraduate thesis focuses on calculating the redox potentials of iron-sulfur proteins. After graduation, I will be pursuing my Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Outside of school I enjoy hiking, painting, and reading science fiction. My favorite book currently is The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin.


How has the library impacted your Duke experience?  

For me, the libraries have always been a place to connect with other people while also tackling my courses at Duke. In contrast to being in my room studying all the time, I feel a sense of camaraderie with my peers in the library that I don’t always feel in other spaces at Duke. I am reminded that everyone here at Duke is working hard to do their very best.

Duke senior Elizabeth Smithwick

What’s something you’ve discovered in the library? 

My sophomore year I was enrolled in an Italian Renaissance art history class and as a research project, we were assigned to investigate an obscure Italian painter. For the painter I received, Marco Basaiti, the amount of information online was sparse, and I was unsure where to go next. Thankfully I was able to find a few physical books on art in the Renaissance that made brief mention to Marco Basaiti in the collection at Lilly library which opened a few more avenues of investigation. Specifically it was a book of drawings by old masters that led me to a few of his more well-known contemporaries that allowed me to find more material on Basaiti himself. Most of the research I had done in the past had mainly been in the form of online journal articles so exploring the stacks in Lilly was a novel experience and gave me a much greater appreciation for the large collection Duke already possesses.

What’s a favorite space or service? And why?

My favorite service of the library is the Document Delivery Service. The ability to access almost any scientific article reasonably quickly and easily is an extremely powerful tool and one I wouldn’t know what to do without.

Elizabeth’s library pro tip: 

Reach out to the librarians for research help with class projects and independent studies. Odds are they know of something that will help make research easier or more efficient. I know my life was forever changed as soon as I learned about EndNote which is a way to manage references for papers.

My Duke Library is a project of the Research and Instructional Services department.

My Duke Library: Tyler Chery’s Perspective

Tyler Chery is a junior studying Mechanical Engineering and Religion.


How has the library impacted your Duke experience?

Ironically, I have never thought of myself as a “library person.”  I always appreciated the “college feel” that university libraries provide, but I never truly believed that I would identify with such a stressful and business-oriented establishment.  This all changed when I first discovered the wonders of The Link during the second semester of my freshman year.

Duke student Tyler Chery

Every Monday and Wednesday after my 8:30 am EGR 121 lecture I would commandeer group study room 11, grab a huge bean bag, and sleep like a baby until my next class. I still remember the awkward looks I would get as people walked into the study room only to find me sprawled on the floor knocked out. On Fridays I would return and crank out hours of homework before the weekend began. The Link became my productivity secret. 

As sophomore year rolled around I challenged myself to find all the nooks and crannies of Perkins and Rubenstein. Now, as a junior I consider myself to be an expert at finding study (and sleep) spaces in Perkins, Rubenstein, Bostock, and even Lilly on East Campus. In addition, I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of the library staff now that I have a work-study job in the collections department of Perkins. I practically spend half of my time in the library these days.

What’s something you’ve discovered in the library?

RESERVE TEXTBOOKS! I literally checked out a reserve textbook 20 minutes before taking one of the rare open-book examinations in all of my time here at Duke. I still remember reading off a few exam answers word for word in the text.

Also, I highly recommend going on the Duke Libraries website and taking the time to search for online resources and databases before wasting your time on Google when writing essays. I have found some serious gems for my religious studies papers just by searching the online catalog.

What’s a favorite space or service? And why?

The Link!  Naps, vending machines, technology support; it has everything you need to complete an abundance of work over the course of one day. I have spent hundreds of hours in there.

Tyler’s library pro tip:

If you are someone who supposedly can only study in your room, or where no one else is watching, I challenge you to try any of the above locations that I have mentioned. You may feel uncomfortable for the first 30 minutes but eventually you will realize that you cannot afford to watch an hour of YouTube videos if everyone else around you is doing actual work.

My Duke Library is a project of the Research and Instructional Services department.

My Duke Library: Tyler Goldberger’s Perspective

Tyler Goldberger is a senior studying History, Spanish, and Jewish Studies. He’s writing his double honors thesis on Spain’s difficulty in commemorating all of the victims of the Spanish Civil War and Francoism dictatorship and the work of the Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica to actively confront this history. Tyler recently authored the Duke Chronicle editorial Confronting Being a Low SES Student At Duke.


How has the library impacted your Duke experience?

The Duke Libraries have provided me with incredible opportunities to perform well in my classes and conduct research. As a low SES (socioeconomic status) student, I thought I would struggle with purchasing the necessary books to excel in my coursework. However, through the help of the librarian staff and search queries, I have never had to pay for a textbook, reducing my financial burden and allowing me to concentrate fully on my classes. Through the library system, especially through the ILL opportunity, I have also been able to retrieve necessary primary and secondary sources for various research projects over my four years. Duke Library System has greatly enhanced my academic journey, and I am so thankful for all of the resources it has provided me.

What’s something you’ve discovered in the library?

The library has allowed me to really learn what research is all about. Before entering the library, my vision of research was limited to high school experiences that really just made me synthesize secondary sources. Once coming to Duke, I have realized that research is alive, especially with the incredible resources provided by Rubenstein. I have had the opportunity to engage with local election results in Durham, abolitionist pamphlets from the 19th century, human rights policy in Spain, and so much more!

What’s a favorite space or service? And why?

The Chat a Librarian function on library.duke.edu has been extremely helpful. There have been many times when I am stuck somewhere but need to know the various resources that exist at the library. This service has saved me time and has helped me locate great sources for a project or personal research.

Tyler’s library pro tip

Utilize the specialist librarians. They will help you formulate questions and find resources for your next great research project!

My Duke Library is a project of the Research and Instructional Services department