3 Must-Know Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your School Library

It’s so much more than just a study space!

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If you’re a student, you’ve probably set foot in your school’s library at some point. When was the last time you actually checked out a book, though? Or did anything else there but cram for an exam

Libraries are one of the most vastly under-appreciated resources on campus. There’s a whole world of tools beyond the doors of your school’s library. 

Here’s some info on how you can start taking advantage of all the library has to offer.

Check it out!

A library shelf full of old, elaborately decorative books
Books are cool to read and even look at it, but there’s more to your library’s shelves.

You know your library has books. You’ve probably walked past hundreds of them while trying to scope out that perfect study spot. While you may only notice old, ornate books on the shelves, libraries normally keep more recent releases in stock too. If there’s a book on your reading list, but it’s not in your budget right now, check your library first. Even if it’s not there, normally you can request it.

However, if books aren’t your cup of tea, your library likely has other items you can bring home for a bit. Most libraries have a collection of DVDs, which can come in handy if you’re searching for a title that’s not on Netflix. You can check the movie out for free! Plus, it’s a fun dose of nostalgia for the days when renting movies from Blockbuster was still the way to go. 

If you’re looking for some fashion inspiration, libraries usually have large numbers of magazines on file. You can flip through issues of Vogue to your heart’s content without having to pay a dime. Old editions of magazines and newspapers can be fun to look at if you’re a history nerd, too!

On a more unusual but slightly cuter note, some libraries let you check out dogs. Yes, you read that right. If you’re a student at Loyola University in New Orleans, you’re lucky enough to be able to check out a dog. 

While your university library might not have dogs to check out, there’s likely some other cool items and services there that you don’t know about. From 3D printing to virtual reality goggles, your student ID can entitle you to all kinds of amazing library resources.

Hang out!

A wide view of a beautiful library with high archways, a glass ceiling and large windows surrounded by numerous shelves of books
Libraries can be some of the most beautiful places on campus.

While your college town has its fair share of hot nightlife spots, daytime and weeknights belong to places like the library. It might sound crazy but check out what events your university library is hosting in the near future. 

At the University of Dayton, the library held a Coachella-themed event featuring snacks, games and even a custom Snapchat filter. Around Valentine’s Day, the University of Florida’s Library West has an event where students can have a “blind date” with a book or DVD. The items are wrapped up with a tag offering some details of what the book or movie is about but without giving away the title. Students then get the entertainment of their Valentine’s “date” plus the excitement that comes from unwrapping it. 

Fun events like this promoting library services aren’t uncommon. You just need to remember to look for them.

Around finals week, college libraries will typically offer all kinds of stress-reducing activities. There’s usually free coffee, pizza or some other snack available at least one day. Other resources sponsored by the library during finals can include massage chairs, coloring pages, and yes, again, puppies. The staff at college libraries recognizes how hard finals can be on students, and they want to make the library a less stressful environment. 

Aside from the more fun activities, some university libraries offer tutoring hours or services in various subjects. These are normally free, so definitely take advantage of them, especially around exam times. 

Next time you’re in the library, be sure to check out their upcoming events. You may find something you don’t want to miss. 

Talk it out!

People work at library tables with a view of book shelves to the side
Just make sure you’re not on the silent floor of the library!

You may be at the library every day, but when was the last time you spoke to one of the librarians there? Librarians can be some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet. Their job is to be research ninjas and guardians of books. You don’t get much cooler than that. Best of all, they’re there to help you. 

If you’re struggling with a research paper to the point that you’re considering clicking on page two of the Google search results, talk to a librarian. They can point you in the right direction of all kinds of helpful books and websites. Librarians have access to research databases with insane amounts of information, all for the sake of helping you out. If you have a question, a librarian will hunt down the answer for you. They’ll pull out information that you didn’t even know existed. 

Even outside of schoolwork, librarians can recommend books and resources for whatever your hobbies or interests are. If you’re interested in art, your librarian can tell you about a special collections exhibit coming up. If you like to cook, they might know a good magazine to subscribe to for recipes. Stop by the circulation desk and introduce yourself to the librarian there. They’re just as much a resource as the library itself. 

What do YOU think?

What makes the library at your school awesome? Do you check out books from your library or just use it as a study space? Have you been to a cool event there? Let me know in the comments!

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