43 Tools in Your Library You're Not Using (but Should Be)

With it's useability and convenience, the internet has enabled college students, seeking both online degrees and residential, to do more research than ever before from the comfort of their own homes. You might just find that with internet searches, sometimes it is difficult to find quality information. Here is a list of tools and resources you're not using (but should be).

1. Books

It is no secret that the library is full of books, and I bet you nine times out of ten, students walk in to a library and head straight for the computer. Next time you're in there, try using an actual book to do some research.

2. Atlas

Speaking of books, there's a fairly large one called an atlas that will provide you with the information you're looking for about all the land masses of the world. Sure, Google Maps has its perks, but using an atlas might just be a quicker and less distracting way to grab information.

3. Encyclopedia

Using an encyclopedia ought to bring back memories of doing research before the advent of the Internet. They're still a great place to go for general information, and older volumes can be prove to be an interesting way of comparing information to what you may now find online.

4. Dictionary

Let's face it, you don't know the definition of every word in the English language. Have of us can't even spell most of the words we use correctly. Pick up a dictionary and learn exactly what those big words actually mean.

5. Microfiche

It might seem outdated, but when doing research on older subjects, it just might be the only way to find that perfect article you are looking for. Millions of magazine articles published over the years are at your disposal using microfiche.

6. Newspaper

Just because the internet has taken over as the place to go for news, that doesn't mean they're not valuable. Most libraries keep current archives of major newspapers - use them to your advantage.

7. Magazine

Much like newspapers, magazines are still being printed, and still chock full of information. Believe it or not, not all magazines publish major articles online, so the library is the only place for you to check them out for free. Most keep archives of recent months in case you need to backtrack.

8. DVD

Most libraries carry an entire video section that, while may not rival the local Blockbuster, still provide informational and award winning movies and documentaries that you can use in your research. You'll probably stumble over some programs that will prove to be informational as well as entertaining.

9. Audio Books

Many argue they don't have the time or patience to read books. Well, audio versions of popular books have been around for quite some time; what better place to find them then the audio section of the library? Rip the books on to your iPod and do some studying later on.

10. Lexis Nexus

The largest paid online research service that many libraries give exclusive access to. While much of the libraries resources will be focused off-line, this is one that you'll be jumping on the computer to use. Lexis Nexis is the definitive resource for legal and public record information.

11. Librarian

Yeah, believe it or not, there are actual people that work at the library. Librarians are in charge of actually organizing all of that information, so they probably can do a good job at maybe helping you find what you are looking for?

12. Other People

In addition to the staff, there's other people in the library too. They are actually there to do research as well (and you thought you were the only one in the world who had to study!) It's okay to ask some questions or directions once and a while.

13. Study Rooms

You'll find many of the real in-depth researchers chilling in one of the library's study rooms. Use them to relax and take your time doing your research, or as an alternative from studying at home. Just don't be a pest or obnoxious when trying to ask for help or finding a study partner.

14. Card Catalog

The old system of sifting through all those books still has its perks. One of the situations the card catalog can come in handy for is when you don't necessarily know what book you're looking for. You can find general information about a book or subject (using the Dewey Decimal System, of course) and sift through some cards before heading over to the actual shelves.

15. Copier

Got an article from a book or periodical you need to save or take home with you? Sure you could copy the entire article by hand, or you could wise up and use the good ole' copy machine. Don't forget to bring some change; some libraries charge a few cents to use their copy services.

16. Fax Machine

Just in case you're in a group study situation and need to quickly get that article you just copied in the hands of a partner, you'll probably have access to a fax machine that will help you get the job done. A bit old school, I know, but when your project needs to be on time, desperate times call for desperate measures.

17. Scanner

Instead of using the copy machine and fax combo, you could use some up to date technology in the form of a scanner. Especially useful if you need to use any pages from older books that may be harder to read with regular copies or if you need to include photography and graphics with your presentation.

18. E-books

Your library probably has access to e-book libraries on their network that you can use to study from. They'll prove to be easy to search for and are most likely in PDF format, which may or may not allow a copy feature for quoting. You also may be limited in whether you can permanently download books or not.

19. Hoovers

Hoovers is another online paid research tool that your library might have access to. Hoovers provides company information, reports, and profiles that allow you to do extensive research in business and industry.

20. Almanacs

A great place to search for facts and statistics would be in some of the library's almanacs. Some more popular almanacs include the Guinness Book of World Records, the Farmers Almanac, and the CIA World Factbook.

21. Biographies

Don't forget that while doing research on specific individuals, the first place to locate information should be in the biography section of your library. Many famous people have written their own autobiographies, so what better way to know the real story than straight from the horses mouth?

22.Yellow/White Pages

I can guarantee that someone in your town, city, or state knows a great deal of information about the subject you are researching. Find a business or organization that somehow deals with the subject matter and get those phones ringing!

23. Thesaurus

When it comes to writing papers, many tend to bore their reader by using the same exact words and phrases over and over again. Do yourself (and your audience) a favor and grab a thesaurus so you can articulate your use of vocabulary significantly better than you have in the past.

24. Film Archives

Oh what fun! Yes some libraries have film archives, even specialize in them! How cool would it be to set up that ole' projector on catch some films of yesteryear? it may not be the same as watching that Hi-Def television you got sitting back at home, but the experience should liven up your studies.

25. Audio Archives

Again, some libraries may contain archives for you to check out, including an array of audio files, cassettes, and records for you to check out. You may be able to kill two birds with one stone by listening to audio to find information while scanning other materials at the same time.

26. Journals

When covering the fields of science and medicine, you'll have at your disposal the option of reviewing many years worth of journals written by experts in either field. Many current journals can be found online, but you'll have to see if your library has older journals for you to use as well..

27. Podcasts

Okay, okay. Maybe you're a real, hard core computer junkie and just can't get away from the thing. If that's how it's going to be, then see if your library has or is subscribed to any important podcasts you can use in your research. Librarians might just know of solid podcast resources that you can trust to use.

28. Poetry

Poetry in your research? Of course! Doing research or writing a paper doesn't have to be all about definitions and statistics. Find some poetry to accent the ideas you are trying to convey in your research and add an extra dynamic to your presentation.

29. Speeches

Many important historical figures have given a speech or two in their day. See if your librarian can point you in the right direction and help you locate these speeches for use in your research. Create a powerful introduction to an idea by using quotes from famous leaders or other important political leaders.

30. Associations & Events

Many libraries have bulletin boards or other locations that showcase local events. Check these out to see if there are any organizations or associations that are holding any gatherings or events in your area that can assist you in your studies.

31. Photos

Some libraries may have actual photo resources that would be a neat addition to anyone's research project. You obviously won't get to actually keep them silly, but using a scanner you could obtain photos that no one else may have thought of obtaining.

32. Historical Documents

Some larger libraries around the county have access to important historical documents. You could go to the Library of Congress to check some of these, or find a library closer to home that has documents related to a specific subject or of local interest.

33. Legal Documents

How does a lawyer prepare for trial? What happens when congress passes a new law? They end up in a book or paper somewhere, that's what. Especially useful when conducting legal research, check to see if your library has access to any law books, journals, or other legal documents.

34. Public Records

Since the foundation of this country we've been keeping records; where do you think they end up at? Many libraries cater to their local city or state and have local public record archives for any and all to use for various research projects.

35. Seats & Outside Benches

Relax. If there's a bench outside and the weather is good, take a seat under the shade and enjoy yourself. Research doesn't have to be something you dread doing, and the only way to achieve that is to make yourself as comfortable as possible.

36. Exhibits

Some of your larger libraries may have featured exhibits featuring information, artifacts, and visual presentations to entice people to come and enjoy their local library. Search around your area to see if any other libraries are featuring any exhibits for you to check out.

37. Databases

Many libraries contain large databases of information they have compiled digitally for you to use. If these libraries contained photo, audio, or other archives in the past, chances are they've created these same archives for you to check out it digital form, which may also be accessed from home (with your library membership information that is.)

38. Artwork

Much like other mediums discussed here, many libraries are havens for artwork, both historical pieces and those from the local art scene. Expand your horizons and your culture by including some form of artwork into your presentation, offering some pizzazz and eye candy to what could be an otherwise boring subject.

39. OPAC

If you dread using the card catalog, at least make an attempt to find a book using the OPAC, or online public access catalog. The OPAC can usually be accessed from any web interface and will assist you in finding the books you need to succeed.

40. Manuscripts

The whole point of this article is to get you off your computer using butt and try something new in terms of doing research. What about using a manuscript to footnote? Take pictures if allowed to prove you were there and got to see it first hand.

41. Comic Books

Oh, I'm sorry, I meant to say graphic novels. Unless you've been living under a rock for fifty years, comics and sequential art are a legitimate way to tell stores, and many libraries carry an extensive line of critically acclaimed stories, both fictional and of historical value.

42. Bibles

Many people who "follow" their religion do so under the notion that one version of their bible exists. Well, they are completely wrong, and the library just might be the place to be to find different versions and interpretations of the Bible, not to forget other books of religious importance.

43. Special Collections

A fantastic addition to any library sometimes is a special collection, which features books and resources not available at any other library. Consider yourself lucky if you happen to stumble upon one of these rare collections!

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