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Basic Library Skills: Home

What kind of resources does the library have?

  • Books - Well duh, we are kind of a library and all
  • Periodicals- These include popular magazines, scholarly journals, and newspapers
  • Microforms- Microfilm and Microfiche, I'll be honest, you'll probably never use these
  • Databases- More in-depth info on these later in the guide
  • Trained Professionals- Don't try this at home. No, actually go for it, we'll help as much as we can remotely too


"I graduated from college and I never once set foot in the library"



Some students wear statements like the above as a badge of honor, as though not using an available tool somehow makes them smarter or better than some of their peers. My answer to such a student is "Would you rather drive a nail with a hammer or a rock?"Oh sure, you can drive nails with a rock, but it will probably take a while and be a lot more difficult than it needs to be, especially when the library is right there in front of you, staring you in the face. Let me take it a step further. "Would you rather drive nails with that rock laying next to you, or this hammer that you just paid $10.95 for at the local hardware store?" Not only is the library here and available to you as a resource meant to make at the very least your academic career easier and better, but you're also already paying for it.


This guide is here to help you with what are generally considered basic library and research skills. And I already know what you're going to say (or at least some of it):

"I can just Google it"-- Yes you can, just like you can drive nails with a rock, but a hammer works better.

"Galileo is so hard to use, I can never find anything"-- That just means that you need practice and experience, with a little bit of background education to start. Surprisingly enough this is about the same as learning to use a hammer, keep trying till you get a feel for it. Sure, every once in a while you'll slip and start driving a nail in sideways or hit your thumb, but it gets easier the more you do it (that's what she said).

"But I don't want to be a librarian or have any kind of job where I'm going to need to do research"-- Ok, fair enough, but in the meantime you're still a student, and someone somewhere is probably going to want you to write a research paper. (Sorry I haven't figured out how to make hammers relevant to this one yet....maybe something like "Ok but for now you're still building a doghouse?")

Subject Guide

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