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Reference & Research Services

Reference Desk

reference deskReference, instruction, and outreach all come together at the Reference Desk, where we welcome you to our staff & services, and our facilities & collections.


  • The Reference Desk is our home base for answering questions—in-person and online. We help with finding books, articles, and statistics, as well as bathrooms and printers. 
  • We teach how to select databases, focus searches, and evaluate results. 
  • We're a permanent outpost promoting library events, services, and resources to an ever-shifting student presence in the library.

librarian and student worker at the reference deskAll of our reference and instruction librarians work among our patrons at the Reference Desk, and our patrons can ask us anything. We feel this makes it easier for any student to connect with our most experienced research experts.

It also helps us understand what students are doing, and what they need from us. Because of this, even librarians and staff from outside the reference department ask to spend some time at the Reference Desk—it's rewarding for everyone!

And because our reference student assistants serve at the Reference Desk right next to the reference librarians, they are encouraged to push their limits under our supervision.

Our Reference Student Assistants

Our reference student assistants are trained to answer directional and technology questions, as well as simple reference questions, and to refer more complex questions to reference librarians and staff.

However, we encourage our student assistants to stretch themselves when sharing a shift with the reference librarians: they can take on more complex questions knowing the librarian is there to guide, add, or correct if needed.

This promotes continual growth in skills and knowledge among our reference student assistants, and turns a mundane job into one of continual interest. Many of our student assistants work at the Reference Desk their entire 4-years at USF, and they leave as capable researchers.

"""Being a student assistant has truly taught me how to approach difficult questions, think critically, and utilize various methods to find all the research I need and more."

—Jacqueline Cao, Reference Student Assistant, 2016–2019

Using What I Learned as a Reference Student Assistant

jacqueline cao

"Last semester [Spring 2019], I had the privilege of working at the Office of Barack and Michelle Obama .... I was on Mrs. Obama’s team, and I was able to learn all about scheduling, advance, and communications. Part of my job included intensive research on various topics and projects that Mrs. Obama would engage in, such as childhood obesity, fitness, healthy lifestyles and food, voting demographics, and more."

"During my internship, I was able to use the research skills that the [reference] team has taught me! I was able to complete my research projects easily with the background that I had at the Reference Desk. Being a student assistant has truly taught me how to approach difficult questions, think critically, and utilize various methods to find all the research I need and more. Thank you all for the lessons that I will use in my future endeavors, and for being part of my amazing journey at USF!"

—​Jacqueline Cao, Politics and Legal Studies '19

Reference Student Assistants

Name & Major

Jennyferstudent photo Avila-Zavala
Nursing major

student photoAlana Cree
Sociology major: Jewish Studies and Social Justice minor
student photoCourtney Crother
​Design major; Architecture minor
student photoSabrina Ibrahim
Psychology major; African American Studies minor
student photoDanni McCorkle
International Business major; Chinese Studies minor
student photoJuliana Molina
International Studies major; Latin American Studies minor
person readingBenny Sulit
Biology major; Chemistry and Music minors

More Staff at the Reference Desk

You'll find a number of librarians and staff from other library departments spending some of their time at the Reference Desk. Some are gaining experience as they complete their library degrees, and all are using the experience of helping our patrons to enhance their work in other library departments.

Reference Desk Helpers

Name & Position Phone & Email
staff photoReimi Akin
Evening/Weekend Circulation/Reserves Coordinator
(415) 422-5675
staff photoShelley Carr
Interlibrary Loan Operations Coordinator
(415) 422-5385
staff photoDavid Ferguson
Acquisitions Coordinator
(415) 422-5677
staff photoJuan Garcia
Stacks Coordinator
(415) 422-6912
staff photoSherise Kimura
Electronic Resources Librarian
(415) 422-5379
staff photoCharlotte Roh
Scholarly Communications Librarian
(415) 422-4745
staff photoJustine Withers
Electronic & Continuing Resources Catalog Librarian
(415) 422-5633