Top Things Students Should Know About College Libraries

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Get To Know The Virtual Library

In most college libraries, the virtual part of the library is usually much bigger than the physical part of the library. Typically the virtual library is 10 times bigger than the physical building. Put another way, 10 percent of the library collection is in the library building and 90 percent of the library collection is available through the library website. The virtual library also can be accessed from any location.

Research Has Never Been Easier

At most college libraries, a student can search pretty much the whole library — physical and virtual — using online database systems. If a student needs to search a narrow topic in more depth, or search for articles or books beyond the library collection, there is usually a special section of the online search that has specialized research databases on the topic.

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Libraries Are Social Gathering Places

Another important component of many libraries is informal social space, something often lacking on college campuses. Such spaces provide casual areas where groups can study, clubs can meet, or students can simply relax. They may include comfortable seating areas within the library, coffee shops or dining facilities, or display spaces for student art or special exhibits. This is a good place to meet with a study group and share ideas for a project or upcoming exam. Some libraries also incorporate student media lounges where electronic games are played, and movie nights are held. In this way, many students who may not come to the library for traditional academic reasons visit the library.

Although technology has changed many things on the college campus, the college library remains an integral part of the campus. Today's college libraries are evolving to meet the new digital reality on campus. They have incorporated learning spaces with student support services to make the library a social gathering place. The new college library continues to be a place for research and study, and it is a place to meet, spend time, and collaborate for both students and support staff.

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