There’s much more at your campus library than books! In fact, the campus library is probably one of the most robust resources available at your college. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most underutilized. We want our Take Stock collegiate scholars to make the most of the resources their colleges and universities offer, so your College Completion Coaches have assembled the list below to help you get started.
Okay yes, we did say your campus library offers so much more than books…but of course there are books. It’s a library, after all! Don’t you forget books are going to be very valuable resources for you over the next few years, and it’s important to know your library houses thousands of volumes for you to check out or use for reference. For instance, do you want to save money on textbooks? Stop by your library and see if you can check out the books you need for your classes before you spend cash.
Library books can also help you complete your assignments. Odds are you will use most of these when it’s time to write a scholarly research paper. In such an assignment, you will have to support a claim by appealing to academic or expert resources. What is a scholarly resource, you ask? Scholarly research describes resources that have been written by an expert in the field, and that have been reviewed by other experts in the field. For this reason, these sources are considered to be very trustworthy, current, and reliable.
Your campus library probably has several books devoted to the topic you are writing on. The next time you have a paper, take some time to search through your campus library’s database.
- Access to scholarly journals
Much of the research you will need can be accessed online through your library’s website. As a rule, any dotcom website should be avoided. Anyone can buy a “.com” domain and populate the site with anything they want. There are no standards for truth or accountability. Thus, you should stick to “.org”, “.edu”, and/or “.gov” addresses for research purposes. That’s why it is important to go through your campus library to track down reliable information. You may find the best way to get information on specific titles is through surfing the campus databases. Normally these are expensive, but your library maintains subscriptions to dozens of academic databases such as Project Muse, JStor, Google Scholar. These compile hundreds of thousands of academic journals and articles each. As your search will be limited to only a few topics, you are more likely to find what you are looking for in these short, easily searchable articles. Try using the search function on your computer to skim through each piece to see if there is anything useful on your specific topic.
- As an alternative study space.
The library is a great place to study, meet on school projects, or–in many cases–grab a cup of coffee. Studying at home or in your dorm can often be distracting. Your roommate might have their tv on, your family dog might want to play, or your neighbors might be throwing a party. The library is a nice, quiet atmosphere with lots of wall outlets where you can charge your laptop and can focus on the task at hand. Many campus libraries offer a quiet floor and another where some talking is permitted so you can tailor your work experience to you. If your study group needs to meet, you can reserve rooms to work together. There is usually some kind of coffee shop in the library, so you can get a jolt and a snack when you’re pulling a long study session.
If you don’t own a personal computer or if yours is on the fritz, the library is an important resource for you. Most campus libraries have computer labs with plenty of desktops you can use to work on assignments or do research. They usually have a few Mac models on hand with video editing tools you can use also. If you are making use of library computers, be sure to have a method to organize your files. You can carry a USB drive or make use of a FREE cloud service like Google Drive, iCloud, or One Drive.
Some campus libraries even have laptops you can check out for short periods of time so you can work on your assignments after the library closes. Be sure to protect these! I can’t tell you how many student laptops have met their fate to an ill-placed Pepsi or from falling off the bed.
- Printing, copying, scanning, stapling
Most professors won’t accept assignments digitally, so it is important to have a reliable method of printing. You may own your own printer, but ink and paper costs really add up and it is good to have a fallback option. Learn how to print, copy, and scan documents at your campus library. Professors hate it when you turn in assignments without stapling them, so be sure to use your campus stapler while you are there.
- Other cool tech you can use
Most libraries offer an abundance of other cool technology students can either check out or use in-house. These include but are not limited to 3D printers, video cameras, green screens, and audio recording equipment. These items can usually be utilized for school projects and personal projects. Swing by your information desk to see all the cool tech your campus has to offer.
- Campus Jobs
Ask not what your library can do for you, ask what you can do for your library! Student library jobs are some of the most coveted on campus. Not only can you help other students find their materials, but also you can usually do your studies when things are slow.
Last but certainly not least, your campus library employs wonderful librarians. These library professionals love to help students find the information we need. If you are stuck on a project, want to learn more about your library resources, or are looking for a library job stop by the information desk and chat with your campus librarian today!
As you can see, the library offers a wide array of tools and services that can help you succeed in college. To paraphrase Reading Rainbow, don’t take our word for it, go check out your campus library!