Library Resources for College Students: Leveraging Research Skills for Future Success

Honing your research skills is an essential part of college life. You’ll need these when
embarking on projects, completing papers, and producing a thesis. Importantly, understanding
how to effectively research can be useful beyond college and into your professional life.

Solid research is dependent on knowing what resources you have at your disposal. This is why
it’s vital to better understand what the university library has to offer. You’ll find it
can be an informational and practical goldmine of support for projects now and in the future.

Library Resources for College Students


The library’s most valuable and important resource — even beyond the vast number of
books — is its librarians. If you’re under the impression these professionals just check out and
shelve books, you’re missing a trick. The duties of librarians are wide-ranging, encompassing
administrative tasks, research expertise, and interpersonal communication, among many others.
They know how to navigate what can be quite complex library collections, meaning whatever
topic you’re researching, they can direct you to items you may not even know are available.

Many university libraries will also have specialist librarians. These professionals have training in
assisting with research projects. Effectively, you can make an appointment with them to discuss
your project, and they can help gather the materials that you’re likely to find useful. Some
librarians will be archivists, too, having a deep understanding of the older items the library has
available. They can be invaluable for doing deep dives on subjects for your thesis.
Perhaps most important of all is that librarians want to help you. They’re usually passionate
about their work and understand how stressful research projects can be. Their empathy,
efficiency, and insights will significantly impact your studies.

Study Rooms

Research can be quite an intense process. Being able to maintain your focus may well be
essential to your success. The good news is that most university libraries offer students access
to private study rooms. This means you can still utilize your library’s vast collection of assets
while also being separated from the traffic and activity that can be distracting.

Still, you shouldn’t simply go to the library in hopes that you’ll focus without effort.
It’s still important to adopt time management practices if you also take advantage of these
study rooms. That being said, study rooms can also be key to effectively managing your
time. Aside from minimizing distractions, you can use the room to gather with other students
to research the same or similar projects. This study group means you can collaborate in the
space, divide the labor among you, and share insights. It makes for more efficient studying.

External Collections

Remember that the items that are physically within your university’s library aren’t the only
resources at your disposal. In many cases, librarians will be able to direct you to resources for
your research across the country and — increasingly — throughout the globe.

For one, universities are usually part of an interlibrary loan network. As long as you have the
details of the book or paper you need, the librarian can search the databases for the
location of a copy. This includes items from the Library of Congress. They’ll then order it to be
delivered to the library. In most instances, you won’t incur a charge for the service.

Another possibility is that, rather than ordering the physical item, there will be an eBook
available in your college’s digital library. This can be a good option for obscure materials that
have been scanned and stored on the cloud. Indeed, it’s a powerful resource if you need to
research a subject at the last minute.


University libraries are host to rich resources, from the expertise of librarians to quiet study
rooms. Learning how to navigate these now will help both in your college experience and
empower you to build skills that will support your professional life. Above all else, don’t be afraid
to ask for help at your library. It’s populated with professionals and users alike who will be happy to guide you on your path to greater knowledge.

Author: Sam Bowman