16 Things Every First Year Should Know About The Library

The University Library might be a little different than what you know from high school and public libraries –we have longer hours, unique services, and gone are the days of the Dewey Decimal System. Read through these library fast facts to initiate yourself into a new world of library life because…

  1. There are 3 library buildings at W&L:  Leyburn Library (the main undergraduate library), Telford Science Library, and the Law Library in Sydney Lewis Hall. Students can use all 3.
  2. All W&L library buildings are open 24/7 while classes are in session. Use your university swipe card for entry during late night/early morning hours.
  3. Your university swipe card serves as your “library card.” Just present it when checking out.
  4. In Leyburn Library, floors tend to get quieter the lower you go. Social studying is often best served by Leyburn’s Main Floor (the top floor).
  5. Carrels, personal library desks, are available for check out in Leyburn and Telford on the first day of class starting at 7:30 a.m.
  6. Most US university libraries use the Library of Congress system to organize their physical book collections, and so do we–not the Dewey Decimal System. The Library of Congress System uses a combination of letters AND numbers for top level categories.
  7. The library is a lot more than a warehouse for physical books, although it has those too. It provides access to ebooks, DVDs, online articles, databases, government documents, streaming media, technology for checkout, and more! library.wlu.edu is the portal to find it all AND online content can be accessed on- or off-campus.
  8. The library doesn’t own every resource. That’s what Interlibrary Loan is for. If we don’t have a book or article, we’ll get in from another library anywhere in the world–free to W&L students.
  9. The library staff wants to help you. They are experts in finding, evaluating, and using information…basically, research! Make an appointment with a librarian, stop by the Leyburn Research Help Desk, or just ask the first library staff person you see!
  10. The University Library provides online research guides to a variety of undergraduate courses and disciplines. JSTOR is great, but there is much, much more available to W&L students.
  11. You will hear a lot of the Honor Code and plagiarism in your time at W&L. The University Catalog recommends the library’s guide to avoiding plagiarism as a helpful resource. 
  12. You’ll likely use several different citation styles during college, depending on what your instructors want.   Most of our research guides include help with citation styles and the Zotero citation manager, which can be used to organize your research.
  13. The University Library is an official federal depository library for U.S. Federal Government publications, dating from about 200 years ago to contemporary materials. 
  14. Special Collections & Archives, on Leyburn’s Lower Level 1, houses rare books, manuscripts, and institutional and local history. Special Collections is opened Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. No appointment required.
  15. Be prepared for some changes. Leyburn Library will be home to a future teaching and learning center, CARPE, on parts of Lower Level 1 and 2. In preparation for this, you might notice some construction, new compact shelving (shelves that move), and other temporary alterations.
  16. The Library books therapy dogs to help de-stress students during midterms and finals. Watch Campus Notices to see when then are coming.

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