What Does a College Library Look Like?
Updated October 26, 2022 • 4 min read
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The library is a frequently overlooked resource in the university system.
Libraries at colleges and universities are full of underutilized resources, both on campus and online. At the library, students can boost their knowledge, improve their grades, and gain insight into life after graduation.
In 2019, institutions reported an increased use of libraries for more than just borrowing books. Libraries also offer access to printing facilities, computer labs, online databases, and research resources. Some schools also invest in technological advancements, though most college students prefer practical, functional libraries with standard equipment.
What Do College Libraries Offer?
College and university libraries provide access to books, magazines, databases, and academic journals, which students can find on campus or online. Librarians can also assist learners when navigating online databases, using specialized search tools, and locating research materials.
In addition to books, many libraries also offer television shows, movies, music, and newspapers, much of which is available to rent or stream. Libraries also sponsor special events with guest speakers and authors hosting discussions about their work.
Learners can also find quiet places to study at libraries, including group study areas, which offer a place for collaboration in a focused setting. While studying independently or with others, learners can also use projection tools, computer accessories, and other equipment provided by the library.
What Do University Libraries Offer Students?
How Can I Find What My School Library Offers?
Library websites list the resources available to students, along with contact information for librarians. Tutorials and guides help students navigate the library's website, while phone numbers, email addresses, and chat options offer direct access to professionals.
When accessing a university or college library website, students can find links to online databases, research guides, and materials placed on reserve for their classes. Many university libraries also offer information on writing styles, plagiarism and citations, and other common topics that can help learners complete their coursework.
What If I Need Something My College Library Doesn't Have?
If a library does not have a specific resource, it may be able to get it from partner libraries through an interlibrary loan. Interlibrary loans link libraries around the world, expanding patron access to physical and digital materials.
Learners can also request books and other materials not found online from another school through databases like WorldCat. Online databases similarly provide access to journals, newspapers, and periodicals. Students may need to use a password or other identifier to access these materials, but those passwords are often available through the library.
Libraries also purchase new materials every year. Students can request specific books, database subscriptions, and other content by contacting the library directly or through a faculty member. Many institutions have specific request forms for their libraries.
What Else Do University Libraries Offer?
Libraries on college and university campuses provide spaces where students, faculty, and other staff members can come together. Libraries also work with other offices on campus to hold events like career fairs, resume writing clinics, and academic support workshops.
Academic clubs and organizations for students with similar interests often meet at university libraries to study, exchange ideas, or build new skill sets. Study rooms often include access to multimedia technology, like projectors or special printers. Libraries also host art exhibitions; written works from students and faculty; and activities like scavenger hunts, essay competitions, and seasonal celebrations.
During finals week or other stressful times in the academic year, libraries sometimes bring in benefits like therapy dogs to help students alleviate stress. University libraries also offer locations where students can store materials, such as lockers or study carrels.
Students interested in library administration or university governance can often find opportunities to serve on a library board as a student representative. This offers experience in an executive setting and allows them to offer input about how the library should function.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does a College Library Help You?
College libraries offer study materials, provide research guidance and resources, and maintain facilities where learners can study alone or in groups.
Can the Public Use College Libraries?
Many — though not all — college libraries allow the public to use their resources. However, college and university libraries may require non-students to pay a fee for access to their resources, or they may restrict certain areas for student use only.
How Does the Library Contribute to Student Learning?
College libraries and their staff help students find information, provide materials for projects and papers, and can answer questions that arise.
Why Is the Library a Good Place To Study?
The library is a good place to study because it offers quiet areas where students can concentrate. Group meeting rooms also allow learners to work together and use technological resources housed at the library.
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