Writing Desk at Drake Memorial Library

Writing Desk Coaches

  Jennifer Deegan Rebecca Oberstadt
  Undergraduate, Junior Undergraduate, Junior
  Major: English Language Arts Major: English Creative Writing & Dance
  Graduation date: Spring 2019 Graduation date: Spring 2019
  English Club President 2017-2018 Student Dance Organization Event Coordinator 2017-2018

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Drake Memorial Library’s Writing Desk service is to empower student

writers of all abilities to hone their critical thinking skills throughout every step of the academic writing process.



We guide and support students in self-discovery through writing in every discipline and across all skill levels.

We encourage self-exploration and understanding of the student’s role in their own education.  


We maintain that the academic writing process is represented in the pre-writing, research, writing, and revision stages.  We continually engage in scholar-led inquiry and peer-on-peer collaboration at each of these stages.

Writing Help

You can get help with writing at Drake Memorial Library and at the College's Student Learning Center.

About Drake Memorial Library's Writing Desk

  • The desk is located on the library main floor; southwest corner, near the Makerspace.  Feel free to ask for directions at the library main circulation desk.
  • No appointment is necessary.
  • Writing Coaches are available on a first-come first-served basis.

About the Student Learning Center


About the Library's Writing Desk Experience

What to expect

The writing coaches will help you locate common errors and flaws within your writing. Their goal is to help you identify your own recurring problems and weaknesses so that you may become a better writer and editor. The writing coaches will not edit your paper for you.

What to bring

  • Bring your writing on your laptop or print out a copy of it.
  • Bring 2–3 pages, maximum.
  • You should be prepared to make corrections and notes as you work with the writing coach.

What the coaches can help with

  • Thesis statements
  • Brainstorming (We'll be glad to listen and talk as you organize your thoughts.)
  • Sentence and paragraph structure
  • Grammar
  • Citations
  • Proper format for headers and title pages
  • 2-3 pages maximum per session. After you make corrections you are welcome to return at anytime and continue working on different aspects or areas of the paper.
  • They will help you work to the best of your ability.

What the coaches cannot help with

  • Proof-reading your entire paper if it's more than 2–3 pages
  • Unusual/problematic citations (For this we will recommend you Ask a Librarian.)
  • Research (For this we can recommend you Ask a Librarian.)
  • The writing coaches will not predict a professor's response or a potential grade.


The writing coaches do not check for plagiarism but your professor will.

Drake Memorial Library: Avoiding Plagiarism

For a view of the Brockport campus policy see:

The College at Brockport policy on Student Academic Dishonesty


Library Writing Desk Hours

Sunday - Wednesday

7pm - 11pm


Writing Desk Survey

After a Writing Desk session please complete a survey. 

We will use the information to provide a more effective, efficient writing service.

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What's the difference?

Each academic discipline uses a different citation style because each has a different priority for information.  Because of these different priorities, the information within a citation will be in a different order, and sometimes in a different format (i.e. foot or end note v. a parenthetical in-text citation).

If you need a style other than APA, Chicago, or MLA, try visiting the Other Citation Styles page, or Ask a Librarian

What are the differences?

Style: APA Chicago MLA
Who usually uses it: Social Sciences, Nursing & Health, miscellaneous other departments. History, Art, Philosophy, and anyone who is going to use a lot of different types of outside information. English and other languages (it stands for Modern Language Association)
What they pride themselves on: Thoroughness, avoiding bias (one way they do this is by avoiding first names). Flexibility (you can cite almost any kind of source in Chicago) Simplicity (they try not to make you include any more information than is necessary
What is important: Date and authority Ease of reading and authority Authority
What you need to know for in-text & other formatting: Always include a date with the author(s); Running heads can be a little tricky (especially in Google Docs); the list at the end is called References Notes are not very different from bibliography entries (once you have made one, creating the other is simple); the list at the end is called  Bibliography The list at the end is called Works Cited
I'm ready to choose: APA Citation Style Chicago Citation Style MLA Citation Style

What stays the same for all styles?

  • In-text citations are meant to lead your reader to the source in the list at the end. 
  • The list of sources should be alphabetized and have a hanging indent. The title of the list (References, Bibliography, or Works Cited) goes at the top, centered.  It is not bold, italics, underlined, or given any other special formatting. 
  • You cite only the sources you actually used in the paper, unless otherwise instructed in the assignment.
  • All styles (including those not listed here- yes, there are more) expect that you have found good quality, scholarly sources.  Your assignment is only as good as its sources. 
  • You are expected to cite where an idea came from, even if you reword it.  This is called paraphrasing, and it is considered plagiarism to paraphrase without a citation.  In other words: if the idea did not originate in your brain (or if it is not considered common knowledge), cite it!
  • Each style includes many of the same parts, just in a different order.  All should have: Author(s); title; date of publication; publisher or source (like a journal); page or section numbers where applicable. 

Tips from the Librarians:

  • Write your list of sources first.  Even if it is not perfect, it is much easier to write your paper if you know what you want to incorporate and where it came from.
  • It can seems intimidating, but paraphrasing is almost always preferred over a direct quotation.  A quote shows that you read something.  A paraphrase shows that you understood it.
  • When in doubt- ask!  Ask your instructor, ask a librarian, ask a tutor. 
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