Your college library offers a variety of resources that can help you earn your degree, regardless of the subject or level you’re pursuing. This is through providing an environment conducive to learning, helpful librarians, and a variety of reference materials.
In ancient Egypt, all ships visiting Alexandria were obliged to surrender their books to the city’s library to be copied. The original would be kept in the library and the copy given to the owner.
7 Ways to Use Your College Library
Your college library is your gateway to learning. And, at many schools, the library is the center of a college’s academic environment.
College libraries have many resources available both at the physical campus and on the library’s website for after hours research. Plus, many libraries have tutoring services, educational presentations, and even host career-related workshops.
But, there are seven main reasons why you should be using your college library to help you earn your degree.
#1: Your Librarians
The librarians at your college library are there to help you. In fact, they’re some of the few people who actually get a kick out of scouring all of the available resources to find the information you’re looking for.
Plus, you get to talk to a real person and ask them a series of questions about a specific topic, as opposed to working by yourself online.
And, with their vast knowledge of reliable sources, librarians can point you in the right direction to make sure that you have access to the resources that will help answer your questions.
#2: Interlibrary Loan Program
While your university library has plenty of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, and tons of other resources, there may some that they don’t have. But fear not! Many schools have interlibrary programs that provide access to resources not at your library.
These interlibrary programs can be with local public libraries, other schools, and other libraries at your college (if it’s a large school or has multiple campuses). Different items may have different borrowing lengths.
For instance, audio/visual items may have shorter periods for borrowing. Therefore, be sure to check with your school’s library for specific details.
#3: Quiet Environment for Studying
One of the most important aspects of your college library is the quiet environment that promotes studying and learning. Your dorm or apartment has tons of distractions, such as social media, video games, and Netflix.
While you probably have access to all of those while at the library, in an atmosphere surrounded by other students studying, you’re more likely to focus and stay motivated. Plus, you can find a quiet corner, put on your headphones, and center on your studies.
#4: Reference Materials
Yes, there are many references online. The problem is that you have to validate much of the information. This is especially true if it comes from a source you’re not familiar with. This process can be time-consuming and frustrating.
However, your college library has a number of reference materials from trustworthy sources that don’t require you to double check any of the information. Some of these materials include:
- Specialized publications
#5: Meeting Places for Study Groups
Many libraries at universities and colleges have different areas that work for different types of studying and meetings. For instance, at some schools, the first floor may have a coffee shop and have more open spaces where your group can meet or you can talk with friends without having to be as quiet as other parts of the library.
At some college libraries, the higher floors have more quiet space. On some of these floors, you may not be able to meet with your study group at a table in the main space. However, usually there are meeting rooms you can reserve and meet with your group without disturbing other students.
There’s no way around it: our lives depend on technology. However, all the technology is expensive and usually requires additional programs or materials (such as ink for printers) that add to the cost.
Luckily, your college library provides access to a variety of technologies that can help you with your studies, such as:
Plus, your university library more than likely has free wifi. That alone is worth a visit for many students.
#7: Tutoring Services
Besides the resources your library has both in print and online, many also have tutoring services that operate through the library. In fact, at some schools you can go to the front desk and ask a librarian the best ways to meet a tutor for the specific subject you’re struggling with.
Even if the tutoring services at your school operate separate from the library, often there are bulletin boards or notice areas where tutors, events, and other tools that can help you earn your degree are posted.
Your College Library and Research Databases
One of the most important resources that your college library has that isn’t mentioned above is access to research databases. Undoubtedly, while pursuing your degree you will need to use these online databases for writing papers, sources for projects, and as cross-references to material you learn in class or in your textbook.
What Is a Research Database?
A research database is a searchable collection of information. Many research databases have a variety of resources that are helpful for your classes, such as:
- Peer-reviewed articles
- Journal publications
- Scholarly texts
- High-quality research
Many of these research databases cost a significant amount of money for a subscription. But your college library probably has access to a wide variety of databases, some that specialize in different areas and produce different search results.
Learning how to use the databases available at your school can be a great way to improve your research and provide valuable sources for your projects.
Choosing a School Based on the College Library
Because your college library is such a valuable resource, some students actually find it useful to visit the library at each of the schools they apply to. That’s because you should get a good feel for your university library, all of the different floors, resources, and take the opportunity to meet some of the staff.
Plus, visiting is a good way to talk to librarians and see how often they interact with faculty. At some schools, the library holds books, textbooks, and other resources for classes. Other schools have bibliographies for classes or programs, so that you can access specific books easily.
Most importantly, if you choose to visit your college library before you enroll in a school, you want to check out the atmosphere of the library. Is this place somewhere you feel comfortable? Is it a place conducive to studying and achieving your goals?
But you should also check out the library’s website to see how accessible it is, how easy it is to find various resources, and find out what’s available online after the actual library closes.
Using Your University Library
The library is the center of learning at your college. That means you should get a good feel for all of the resources available there, how to access them, and meet your librarians because your college library will be a big part of your studies while you pursue your degree.
In fact, whether you’re earning an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or online certificate, your library has access to databases, books, journals, and other resources to help you.
And, if you’re earning your degree online and aren’t close enough to campus, your local public library has many of the same resources available.