A Student's Natural Habitat: The Library
Do any of you remember September? It feels like it was just yesterday except my deadline calendar seems to be saying something entirely different!
On the topic of deadlines, I have only just submitted the preliminary research proposal for my dissertation, which, other than the fact that I have not gotten much sleep this past week, also means that I have become quite familiar with the main UofG library.
I may or may not have spent more time there last week than in my own house but that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that this blog post will be a quick introduction to the University Library that I wish I had gotten back in September!
Firstly, it is always crowded. Finding a nice nook that’s close to the printers, the food, and the restrooms, but also not really close to other people (because nobody likes to have someone staring over their shoulder), is like a scene from The Hunger Games. Be prepared to hunt down that coveted cushioned seat and, if all else fails, don’t discount bringing a blanket and setting yourself up between two rows of books. Trust me, it does wonders for writer's block!
The crowd, nevertheless, is also one of the best parts about the Library. There’s nothing quite like knowing that everyone else around you is struggling to get through a paper, doing their best and trying to get something written by the end of the day. We’re all in this together! And we’re all overtired, over-caffeinated and overstressed.
To help combat library stress try taking some simple steps to get the most out of this fantastic resource. First, try not to lose or forget your student card as that’s your all-access pass — to the actual library, where you need it to enter the building, to check out books, and even to exit when you have finished up for the day. What's more, that really long number on the card also gives you online access to your account so you can browse and download e-books and articles off-campus. In case your student card does perform a vanishing act on you, fear not, you can get a new one in the Fraser Building, which is right next door to the main library.
The library itself is set up to cater to every individual’s study needs, with the different zones being labelled with colours. Green means group study areas, which are on Levels 2 & 3. Level 3 is also where the High Demand collection is located, where you can pick up books you’ve reserved, print stuff or top up your printing credit, and where you can grab a quick snack at the Food in Focus Cafe. Put simply, Level 3 of the Library is awesome, if a little loud at times! The remaining zones, amber and red, mean quiet and silent study respectively. Quiet study is between floors 4 to 7, and silent study is on floors 8 to 11. Every floor has a number of computers available for student use so that you can sit at one of the computers, browse the UofG book collection via your myCampus account and do your work.
One of the most important things I can say about the libraries is to be sure to check all the information posters around. There’s information about printing, about getting books on hold, about navigating the library building, etc. Additionally, ask the staff any questions you might have. They’re incredibly friendly and always ready to greet you with a smile and offer their help. Make sure to check their schedule though. If you need assistance that is tailored to your subject, there is always the possibility to book an appointment with your College Librarian who can offer support on referencing, research data management, open access and many other areas of interest. A list of College Librarians is provided on the UofG website and all you have to do is drop them an email, call them or directly book an appointment with them!
In addition to the main library, UofG also has a number of branch libraries, including the Adam Smith, Chemistry Branch, James Herriot, and James Ireland Libraries, and the Law Workshop and Library Research Annexe. A list of which specific courses these Libraries are meant for is provided on the UofG website, together with more information on their opening hours.
Even now, I’m still discovering new things about the libraries, new nooks and crannies, and I must confess that I have yet to venture beyond the main Library and the Adam Smith one. I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of the UofG libraries, if you spend more time there than you do at home or if you avoid them at all costs and only go in to pick up books! Drop us a comment, follow us on Twitter — we want to hear about your experience of the Libraries!