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Perhaps you toured your university’s library as a freshman. Maybe you even check out the occasional novel or biography. However, it’s likely you’re underestimating the importance of school library systems and failing to tap into your campus library’s full potential. There’s a wealth of information waiting to be discovered, and all you have to do is head over and browse the shelves. Learn the importance of your school library to use it more effectively and succeed in your studies.
1. Understand the Classification System
You probably learned about the Dewey Decimal Classification System when you were in grade school. That’s because most K-12 schools and public libraries use it. Meanwhile, the vast majority of academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification System. This system categorizes books by topic, author, and publication date. If you’re to find your way around your library, you better learn how to use it.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, the Pratt Institute Libraries organize their books by the Dewy Decimal System because of its time as a public library. Because each library uses its own system, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your university’s preferred classification method so you can find books independently.
2. Access Digital Records
Perhaps you’re a journalism major writing articles about the university’s personnel. Or maybe you’re in a fraternity and need to reference the university’s vast array of legal or historical documents. In this case, you’ll want to head to the library and access its digital records.
Once you enter the online database, you can often search through city newspapers, public records, university reports and documents, and similar archives. The information you find in these digital repositories could help you write a paper, win an argument or even ace a course.
3. Reserve Textbooks for Free
University students know that textbooks are expensive. That’s why wise freshmen and seasoned academics buy used books or share one and split the cost with a classmate. What if you could get those required textbooks for free? Well, with the library, there’s often a way.
Many university libraries keep copies of commonly requested textbooks on file. You can reserve them months in advance and check them out for free to study or complete essays. Just remember to return them on time or the librarians will charge you a hefty fee. Your peers are waiting in line for that book too, you know!
4. Download Audio and E-books
University libraries offer loads of digital content. On top of the internet and other search engines and databases, many also provide e-books for students to check out. The best part about these files is that, unlike hard copies, they’re readily available. Plus, you can highlight, markup, and make notes in the margins. If you did that to a paper copy, the library might charge you a fine to help purchase a replacement.
Audiobooks might not have margins or even pages, but they can be just as helpful as e-books. When you’re busy and don’t have time to sit down and read, pop in your earbuds and listen. Do chores, work out, or run errands whilst learning new things the whole time.
5. Take Advantage of Study Spaces
Most university libraries have study spaces where students can find peace and quiet. Often, these rooms feature soundproofing insulation to maintain complete silence, which can ultimately help boost concentration and lower stress levels.
Take advantage of these spaces and use them to do your homework, prepare for exams or catch up on textbook reading. You’ll find whiteboards, projectors, and other equipment in these rooms and you can usually check out markers, erasers, and other supplies from the front desk. Bring your whole study group for an overnight prep session or even sneak in a 10-minute nap.
6. Utilize Library Equipment
University students often have access to a plethora of library resources, including equipment like printers, copiers, fax machines, laptops, and desktop computers. Some even lend out calculators, rulers, and other smaller supplies to those who can’t afford to purchase them.
Some equipment does cost money, however. For instance, you might have to pay five cents for each piece of paper you use to make a copy or print something out. If you’re unsure of how to use something or whether it comes with an extra charge, ask your librarian.
The library has a wealth of information, but so do the librarians. Could be colleagues… undergraduates like you. Or university staff. Either way, they’re bound to know more than you do.
Finding the Importance of School Library Availability
Your university library holds a wealth of information and only you can tap it. Remember, you only have these resources for a few years. Then, you may have to pay a fee or know somebody who knows somebody to access certain files. You might as well take advantage of your temporary and powerful student privileges now, while you still can.
If nothing else, ask the librarians questions. They have a wealth of information to share, too. Plus, some of them are likely peers, colleagues, and university staff, so they’re bound to prove useful on your journey through school and, ultimately, graduation.