Carson College’s Amrita Lahiri Named 2024 Library Excellence Award Recipient

A partnership between Amrita Lahiri, assistant professor in Washington State University’s Carson College of Business, and WSU business librarian Gabriella Reznowski has helped Lahiri’s students learn how to refine research questions and find credible information to answer them.

For her enthusiastic support of library instruction in her business students’ coursework, Lahiri has been named the 2024 Library Excellence Award recipient. The award recognizes a non-library WSU faculty or staff member who has shown consistent support for the WSU Libraries.

Students of Lahiri’s entrepreneurial management class are required to complete a term project in which they pick a research question focused on entrepreneurship and conduct a survey of the literature relevant to their question. They interview entrepreneurs and use databases such as Pitchbook and Statista to find answers.

“My goal through this process is to demystify research for our students, help students be better judges and informed consumers of research, and ultimately promote lifelong curiosity and learning,” Lahiri said. “I consider WSU Libraries to be a critical ally in pursuing this objective.”

Recipients of the Library Excellence Award are chosen based on encouraging students to use the libraries; personal use of the libraries; personal support of or contributions to the libraries’ collections or services; interaction and cooperation with library faculty; and service on library-related committees.

Excellent library collaborator, advocate

Reznowski praised Lahiri’s collaboration with and advocacy for the libraries, saying the professor always goes above and beyond to share her course and assignment information with Reznowski so she knows what students will need to confidently complete their assignments.

“She is always willing to work collaboratively and proactively to help me understand the challenges her students are facing in terms of their information needs as they navigate the complex environment of business resources,” Reznowski said.

Lahiri’s engagement with the libraries and its resources, and her commitment to working with Reznowski in planning instruction, have helped Reznowski to become a better business librarian, she said.

“Dr. Lahiri always provides me with feedback on the class in order to improve my teaching towards a more relevant instruction session,” Reznowski said. “I am grateful for her collaborative spirit, kindness, generosity, and commitment to giving Carson College students genuine opportunities to engage with library resources for business research.”

Moving beyond Google

Lahiri said her work with WSU Libraries helped her understand some key hurdles students face in accessing information. Many students, especially those less familiar with library resources, often default to using search engines like Google to access databases for class projects, but are denied entry due to paywalls.

“Gabriella helped me to create class-specific library resources webpages that organized course-specific databases and research tools in one place,” she said. “I place a prominent link to these webpages on my Canvas homepage as well as in my syllabus. I find that doing so makes it more straightforward for students to access and utilize library resources.”

It’s critical that educators help students develop information literacy skills, Lahiri said. This includes encouraging students to pay attention to the credibility of an information source, helping them discern data quality, and teaching them about biases in data.

“With the ubiquity of social media today and the increasing proliferation of artificial intelligence for content generation, I believe it is essential for students to be savvy in discerning credible information from disinformation and misinformation,” she said. “We are part of a broader collective seeking to enable our students to become responsible and knowledgeable creators, consumers, and disseminators of information and research.”