One of the smartest things a college student can do is make the campus library their best friend. Many undergraduates grossly under-utilize their college library, using it mostly as a handy Wi-Fi hotspot or as a place to get quick access to a computer. While these are useful functions, a college library serves a much wider purpose than just being a spot to check social network sites before class. Here, we will explore ways to make the most of a college library.
One of the best things a student can do is get to know the skilled reference librarians who man the reference desk during library hours. These professionals are paid to help students find the information they are looking for, and excel at helping students find research articles, reference materials and topical books for research papers. Reference librarians also provide thorough instructions on how to use the library’s databases so students won’t waste time troubleshooting. Many college libraries allow you to book an appointment with a reference librarian so you won’t have to wait your turn to sit down with one.
Another feature most college libraries offer is inter-library loan services, which means you are not limited to the books and materials at your college’s library. If your library doesn’t have the book or research article you need or the book you need is lost or checked out, you can have your college library borrow the book from another library not associated with the university. Once the book or research article arrives at your library, you will be contacted to pick it up at the circulation desk.
Your college library also serves as a quiet place to study. This is particularly useful if you have a rowdy roommate who is fond of playing X-Box incessantly and blasting their music at full volume when you’re trying to hit the books. College libraries commonly feature private study rooms and meeting spaces for group study sessions.
Your college library is also good for some free entertainment. You can check out movies and music, which will save you a pretty penny if you’re broke and bored. Some college libraries also feature an online music library so you can stream music through headphones while you are researching.
Finally, a good many college libraries feature standing and temporary art exhibits and host various authors. At Texas State University’s Alkek Library, for example, an entire floor is dedicated to the Southwestern Writers Collection display and various traveling exhibits of art and photography. Be sure to take full advantage of these opportunities for cultural immersion to make your college experience that much richer.
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