Chris Chamness - Reference Librarian
The desire to learn a reference librarian’s secrets led Chris Chamness into her profession. “When I was doing research, I found that reference librarians always seemed to get the right journals and books that I needed. I wanted to find out their “secrets,” explained Chris.
Today as a reference librarian, Chris uses her own secrets to research many different topics for students and faculty. One recent research project involved assisting a student who was trying to answer the question, “Could the knee be improved with greater flexibility or through increased stability?” Through investigation Chris and the student established parallel research in bridge design where flexibility and stability are also important qualities. The student’s conclusion was that the knee is designed perfectly well to do its primary job. Improving your behaviors such as stretching and warming up before exercise or athletic events and not putting your knee in a situation where injury is likely are really the only improvements you can make. "So it’s not a design issue but behavior improvements,” says Chris.
The Secret of Chris’ Footstool
Occasionally Chris gets stumped by a question. Some answers take longer to find than others and you can’t wait for an answer when you need to be in class. So Chris asks the person’s name and continues to research the question promising that any information she finds will be placed on the footstool near her desk with the person’s name attached ready and available for the return visit.
Chris’ Personal Research
Chris’ recent reading included Got Game by John Beck and Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson. The idea behind these books and others is that the “millennial generation” is very familiar with computers and consequently they are developing differently because of the time they spend at computers or video gaming. For example, the frontal lobes of 20 year old males from the millennial generation are more developed than those of 20 year olds from the 1970’s. Their average glove sizes are 2 times bigger too which is attributable to more keyboarding than previous generations; but they lack skills in other areas-such as scholarly research. “Knowing these kinds of things about this generation of students helps me to help them,” says Chris.
Another Secret Revealed!
Chris advises people doing research to “pay attention to the organizational system of knowledge and information. That’s how libraries work. If you know how things are organized, you can find practically anything.”
- B.A. Economics Barat College, Lake Forest, IL
- M.L.S. Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
- Once owned a catering business.
- Enjoys knitting & quilting
- Joined UW Fox in 1997
- Recent reads include: Got Game, Everything Bad is Good for You, & The Tipping Point
ent Council, Green Bay