Read all about it: Hidden resources available to students

The USF Library is an overwhelming building. Six floors of computers, media and books are enough to leave a student wondering where to start, or whether they should even bother to look through all it has to offer. Once the initial information overload fades, students may find that they should bother, because the Library is a trove of endless resources. There are a lot of things that can be borrowed, many special services and plenty of material that is accessible through the library’s special Internet access.

Things to Borrow

Everyone knows books can be borrowed at the library, but many do not know about the other resources that are available. Students who hate walking around to find a computer in the Library might be interested to know that laptops are available on loan. With proper ID, students can check out a Dell Inspiron for up to three hours for use within the Library.

“They have a pretty complete suite of software,” communications major Skye Rodgers said.

According to the Library information card, laptop rentals cannot be renewed and there are costly fines for overdue laptops, including a replacement fee for any laptop more than four hours late.

In the Media Center, which has recently moved to the first floor next to the Information Commons, students can find VHS and DVD movies of every sort. The Center houses shelves of new releases, documentaries, foreign/independent films and more. Also in the Media Center are books on tape, musical scores and CDs.

“There are two multimedia rooms, but for group work, media can also be watched in collaborative space in the computer lab,” said Nancy Cunningham, associate director of Reference and Institution.

Don’t waste hard-earned money renting movies and buying books; swipe your student ID and have instant access to all the Library offers.

Special Services

A student who doesn’t want to borrow anything will still find plenty to do in the Library. In the computer lab next to the Information Commons, students can scan documents and burn CDs. Graduate students who need help with research can take advantage of the Advanced Research Services, which will help students find more in-depth resources for big projects, according to Cunningham.

On the second floor, students can explore new and old magazines and newspapers. If there is something that can’t be found in the USF Library, students can suggest the Library purchase the item in question, or use a valid student ID at several local public libraries. InterLibrary Loans can also bring books and media from libraries across the state to USF for students who request the service.

Online Access

Teachers and professors can make documents available to students on reserve through the USF libraries Web site.”I love online articles; they are easy to use for my papers,” psychology major Lubov Panteleeva said.

There are scores of information to be accessed through this Web site; Rodgers said the content includes “vast libraries of images, streaming video and streaming audio.”

Ask-A-Librarian allows students to connect and chat with a librarian to have questions answered online quickly and easily. According to the online services information card, for a small fee you can request that materials be scanned or photocopied. Also accessible through the Web site is the lost book form, to declare a book as lost before overdue fines accumulate. According to Rodgers, special podcast documents will also soon be available on the Web site.

When at the Library, instead of just grabbing coffee and jetting out the door, take a minute to check out some of things that are freely and readily available for use – at least check out the leisure collection of books, movies and CDs located in Starbucks.

The Library recently extended its hours to 2 a.m. Monday thru Thursday for late-night study sessions. Other hours, along with more specific information about services, can be found on the colorful information cards in the Library lobby next to the elevators.