Maximizing a College Library Visit
Entering a college library can be an intimidating experience for students. Seeing countless shelves lined with books, nonfiction publications, and articles, floors upon floors of references and texts, and archival collections can be overwhelming for many scholars. It may seem difficult, if not impossible, to learn how to navigate through the library and to locate what you are searching to find. However, keeping a few tips in mind will help students to find what they are looking for without experiencing too much of a challenge.
College campuses are equipped with online databases that list articles and publications as well as useful citations that may be required when students are writing research papers. Students can access resources in the library, such as the online library catalog, that will allow them to locate the text they are looking for, read a summary, and access information for citations and bibliographies.
Learning the Dewey Decimal System
Many libraries are organized using the Dewey Decimal System, which is a classification of books and other publications. It utilizes the numbers 000 to 999 to differentiate fields of knowledge and disciplines, as well as letters and decimals to subdivide topics within a field. Having fundamental knowledge of this system will help students when they are searching for books in a specific subject or genre.
Although each library’s system may be organized differently, most libraries follow the Dewey Decimal System by classifying books based on numbers and specific categories. For example, students can locate books on Psychology and Philosophy in the 300 section, Language and Grammar in the 400 section, and Math and Science in the 600 section. In addition, every portion of the library will have number frames posted at the ends of bookcases and shelving to show the number range for that particular area. Most often, libraries will also provide an organization chart at the front desk to help researchers determine which section a specific genre is located.
The Circulation Desk
Students are always welcome to ask the librarian for help. Most librarians hold a degree in Library and Information Science, so they have a wealth of knowledge about the library and where to find a book, and they can also share with scholars services that are offered. At times, a library may not have the book a student may need. In this case, the librarian can help students to locate and order the necessary texts from another library and have it sent to their college library.
Being well informed and knowledgeable about the college’s library and its resources, and understanding how to utilize these tools is an important asset for students when they are assigned research papers. Likewise, to learn more information, students can also check out the library’s website, speak directly to a librarian, or schedule a tour.