University Libraries.

What Can the Library Do to Help Me?

As a new year starts, new students might be wondering ‘what can the library do to help me?’ Many new graduate students might have gone their entire undergraduate careers only entering the library a few times, but that sort of attitude won’t take you far in graduate school. To succeed at this level of academia you will have to use all of the resources at your disposal, so those of us at the Dewey Graduate Library want to let you know exactly what we can do to help you in your studies.


The first stop for anyone seeking reference help should, of course, be the reference desk, which is the lower portion of the large desk just as you enter the library. Sitting there is usually a librarian who can help you with any questions you might need. Do you have a book in mind but don’t know how to search for it? Or maybe you have a paper or project and don’t know where you should start. Stop by and ask a reference librarian and we should be able to set you on your way. We can also show you how to use the library’s databases [] and the library’s own Minerva catalog . The Dewey Library reference desk is open Monday to Wednesday from 10-8, Thursday and Friday from 10-5, and Sunday from 1-7. These hours, their exceptions, and the reference hours for the uptown libraries can be found on the library’s website.


The library also has a lot of online tools for students to use if they are unable to make it to the library when they have a question. One of the more useful tools is our list of online reference resources. This contains a list of useful sources students might often need, like citation manuals, lists of acronyms, online dictionaries, encyclopedias, and much more. There’s too much to list here so you’ll just have to check it out yourself. On the University Library website there is a ‘research assistance’ tab that contains most of the other tools you’ll need to interact with the reference librarians. These tools include the ‘ask a librarian’ email address, and a client to seek help via instant message or text. These tools are useful for quick questions that need answering, but be aware that there is only so much we can do remotely. If you need in-depth help with your research, try scheduling a Personal Assistance With Searching (PAWS) appointment where you’ll have an hour with a subject specialist to assist you.


Finally, you can also find a list of subject specialists who are experts in particular fields. If we can’t help you at the reference desk we might refer you to one of them to assist you further. Here at Dewey our subject specialists are Deborah Bernnard, for information science, Richard Irving for criminal justice, law, political science, and public administration and policy, Lorre Smith for anthropology, geography and planning, linguistics and cognitive science, and sociology, and Elaine Lasda Bergman for social welfare. Other faces you’ll see on the reference desk are Greg Baron, Lindsay Van Berkom, Cary Gouldin, and me, Alex Hoag, the Sunday Reference Assistant. A full list of Dewey staff can be found on our Dewey Library staff directory.


If you have any questions feel free to email us at or call us at 442-3691.


Blog post created by Alex Hoag

Photo Credit: Morris Stilson


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