Getting the most from your library

Posted in: University Life

The University library might be a place that you spend all of your time in, or you might have only been in once when you nipped in for a wee after a night out. As a student, the resources offered to you by your Library are broader than you can ever imagine. Of course, we have not visited every University in the UK but here are some of the best things about a University Library. 

As well as thousands of books and archives most libraries will have designated zones; a general area usually with computers and tables suitable for group work, the quiet area and often a silent floor. This is brilliant for different levels of study. Casual studying with friends to being fried by your dissertation and needing some silence.  As well as different noise levels there are usually study rooms to book out, these work well for group presentations and projects. 

University assignments are much more demanding with their need for unique sources of research. One of the main differences from public libraries is that a University library has access to protected journals, historical texts, and millions of books and e-books to pour-over. Check with your University about the limit on how many resources you can loan at any time and how long you have to return them. Librarians are there to help you, some faculties even have someone on site 24 hours. 

One of the best things about libraries is that they are one of the only spaces in the world exempt from monetary gain, you can exist in a public space without spending any money. This comes as a relief I’m sure to students who seem to just step outside and be down £30. 

Not only does the library have more books than you can imagine, but it also has specialised facilities that you might not have access to elsewhere. This could be practical things like photocopiers, printers, and computers with unique software, to free tea and coffee facilities, some institutions have equipment like sewing machines. 

When you first attend your University library I would recommend asking one of the desk clerks for a tour.

As a second year student at De Montfort I have spent a great deal of time in the Kimberlain. I found that it had everything I could need during a long study session (even blankets!) 

There are plenty of computers and if you use a laptop there are work spaces all equipped with plugs. I find that the second floor is the perfect volume for me because it is quiet but not silent. 

No matter what course you do you will find something for you in the Library. There are hundreds of archives and magazines dating back years in the basement and there is even a crafting room for those of you doing creative subjects. 

There are several dedicated teams in the library including CLaSS, Assistive Technology, Digital Partner, Library Disability Team, and the Maths Learning Centre. You can book 1-1 appointments with any of these teams or you can go to their drop in coaching sessions or speciality classes. 

The cafe is open from 9am to 8pm during the week and 12pm – 6pm on the weekend. The food is good and reasonably priced. If you’re pulling an all nighter there are vending machines dotted about. The best thing about this is that one time during a fight between a pretty hefty assignment and me after 2 redbulls, I needed a snack and the vending machine gave me two Aeros instead of one! 


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