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LTA: Library Technical Assistant Program: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1)   What course should I take first?
The first course you should take is LIBT 101, Introduction to Library Service. If you’ve never worked in a library, this class will be helpful by introducing you to the nature of libraries and library work.

2)   Is there an advisor for this program? Who should I contact with questions about courses?
The director of NCC Library Services, Sandra Sander, is the advisor for all students in the Library Technical Assistant program. She can be reached at 610-861-5358 or ssander@northampton.edu.

3)   What should I do if I have an emergency situation that may prevent me from meeting a deadline?
This will depend on the class and instructor. Your first step should be contacting your instructor, as the two of you may be able to work out some kind of arrangement. If you will be excessively absent due to a medical problem, you will want to contact your instructor in this situation as well. There are some alternatives in the event of a medical situation, which your instructor or the Office of Online Learning can explain to you.

4)   Who should I contact if I am having technical problems with Blackboard or NCC email?
Any technical problems should be reported to NCC’s Computer Services department/Computer Help Desk. Their phone number is 610-861-5413 and their email address is helpdesk@northampton.edu. Regular semester hours for this department are as follows:

Monday-Thursday    7:30 AM-9:00 PM

Friday                    7:30 AM-5:00 PM

Saturday                9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Sunday                   12:00-4:00 PM

Please note that in the summer, NCC is closed Friday through Sunday, so you will not be able to reach the department on the weekends.

If you are without a computer, remember that most public libraries have computers available to the public! Try your local public or college library to see if you can use the Internet and Microsoft Office tools. We recommend that you purchase a flash drive on which to store the work that you do, since you usually cannot save documents on public computers. If you are close to the NCC Bethlehem campus, visit our library and use one of our over 125 computers!

5)   The instructor keeps complaining about my writing skills. Where can I go for help? 
It is important to develop good writing skills at the college level. Not only is this crucial so you get a good grade, but these skills will carry over into your career. Anyone working in the library field will need to have good communication skills, since you will be communicating with patrons, donors, and colleagues. The Learning Center at NCC is a very valuable resource to help with this task. The staff in this department can help you with your writing skills, as well as MLA/APA citation skills. You have a few options for reaching them:

By phone: 610-861-5517
Email: learning-center@northampton.edu 

Also look for advertisements about online tutoring sessions. There are helpful handouts on their website, too.

6)   I am almost done with the program, and would like to find a library job. Can you point me to some resources that will help me find another job?
You may want to start with NCC’s Career Services Office. Not only can they provide job listings, but they can also provide help with writing resumes and cover letters. Their contact information is listed on this page.

There are a number of websites directed at library and information science careers. View them on this guide under the tab Library Websites.

7)   After completing the LTA program, I might like to pursue an advanced degree in the library science field. Where can I get more information on these programs?
There is a lot of information on library science programs available on the Internet. Please view the tab called Library Websites on this guide for more information.

Please note that there are many different options in regards to obtaining library science degrees. Some colleges offer bachelor degree programs (undergraduate programs) in library and/or information science. If you are interested in working as a reference librarian or as a manager or director, you will usually need a master’s degree. Master’s degrees (graduate programs) are often offered under different names, ranging from library science degrees (MLS), information science degrees (MIS) or library and information science degrees (MLIS).

If you pursue an advanced (master’s program) degree in library science, please note that you should find out if the program is ALA-accredited. The American Library Association (ALA) is affiliated with certain master’s degree programs. You will often see in job offers that they specify that the candidate must have “an ALA-accredited master’s degree.” Some colleges, like Kutztown University, are NOT ALA-accredited, so you have to be decide what program is right for you.

Please note that you can also obtain a Library Support Staff Certification through the American Library Association. This is a relatively new program where you can complete competency tests in order to obtain a certificate deeming you a library paraprofessional. For more information, check out their website at http://ala-apa.org/lssc/.

8)   The instructor wants me to read articles, but my local public library doesn't have them in either print or on-line. How can I access them?
It is probably safe to say that your instructor is choosing articles that are available through the NCC Library’s databases. It is recommended that you start here when attempting to access articles, instead of through your local public library. You may feel more comfortable using your local public library, but it’s important to become familiar with the resources that are available to you through NCC!

Your instructor may tell you which database to use when accessing articles. If they do not, feel free to ask them. You may also want to try the ProQuest database or EBSCOhost database, our most commonly used databases for finding periodical articles.

Begin at the NCC Library website at http://www.northampton.edu/library.htm. In the Library Quick Links box, you’ll see the links for ProQuest and EBSCOhost. Click on either one. You will be prompted to enter a username and password, which is the same information you use to log into MyNCC (the NCC system where you go to access email and register for classes.)

ProQuest should immediately display a search screen. EBSCOhost is bit more difficult to enter. You must click the link for EBSCOhost Web. On the next page, click the button for Continue. Then you will be on the EBSCOhost search screen.

If you know the title of the article, you should try typing it in the search box and then run your search. Hopefully you can find it. If you still have trouble, contact your professor. Click on the Research Assistance tab on this guide to view videos that will walk you through searching these databases, in case you need more instruction.

9)   How do can find a list of library science journals in ProQuest and EBSCOhost?
Visit the Library Databases tab in this guide to view a list of common library journals that can be found in these databases.