Reference Interview: Lilianna Nalewajska, University of Warsaw Library, Warsaw, Poland

Photo of Lilianna NalewajskaName:  Lilianna Nalewajska
Title: Subject Librarian, Information Services and Training Department
Institution: University of Warsaw Library, Warsaw, Poland

How long have you been at your current library and what do you do there?

In the University of Warsaw Library I have been working since February 2007. From the beginning I  have been dealing with information services. Since October 2014 I am also a subject librarian in the field of history. My tasks are different – reference work, giving general information during my chat duty hours, giving help and bibliographical advice to the users by e-mail or on my duty hours at my post in the open stacks subject area, as well as training 1st-year students, particularly foreigners coming to study in Warsaw. I also guide groups visiting the Library – Polish and foreign ones interested in the Library and its collection itself as well as in the building and architectural solutions used.


Why did you decide to become a librarian?

My colleague I studied with first began to work in the Library. And although I finished studies in Archaeology and History of Art I also found a place here. My education appeared very useful in my work. After some years I finished also a post-graduate studies in Information Science at the University of Warsaw. I enjoyed and still enjoy the different kind of work I do in the Library. Besides my obligatory tasks I can realize my ideas, conduct some research (like opinion polls) or organize exhibitions.


Tell us a bit about reference and information services at your library.

The University of Warsaw Library serves first of all the students and researchers of the University. It is one of the biggest academic libraries in Poland so it supports research process by providing a wide range of e-resources. But in fact it is a public Library serving all users. We try to offer different kinds of reference and information services – general and specialized information provided on-site as well as on-line. We offer trainings regarding several aspects of information use – starting from the use of online catalogue, through electronic data bases, subject trainings, up to reference and ethical use of information. The Library tries to fulfill a wide range of information seekers’ needs.


What do you think is the most important issue in reference and information services right now?

An answer to this question is not simple. Librarians working with young users, and particularly with students, know it very well that this group of information seekers requires quick and precise information. Young people should be taught and become aware that not everything’s on the Web. And that not everything that is on the Web is relevant. Nowadays manipulation and distortion of information may be a big problem in research because there is too much of information available that we cannot verify and evaluate it properly. Also quick technological development of searching tools may cause difficulties for the users as well as for librarians who, in many cases, are not able to be up-to-date with all the current solutions.