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Libraries Are for Life

Libraries and librarians are resources for you throughout your life. While the Internet is a valuable resource, it is in no way a replacement for libraries. Libraries not only have resources to check out and use in house, but they also have professional librarians on staff at the information or reference desk.

Two Things to Remember

photo of a librarian acting as a director, with the caption Need direction? Ask a librarian

THE ROLE OF THE LIBRARIAN: Librarians have masters degrees in Library Science; they are information and research experts. The librarian's job in an academic library is to guide you and teach you how to do the research you need for your projects and papers. In a public library, the librarian answers reference questions. It is always okay to ask the librarian for assistance in whatever library you are in. In fact, it's more than okay, it's encouraged!

THE LIBRARY WEB SITE: When you use a library, whether public or academic, always start by looking at the library's Web site. It will include:

  • the library's online catalog
  • access to databases (yes, public libraries have them, too!)
  • other useful information, such as research tips, recommended Web sites, library programs, workshops, and activities

By looking over the Web site, you can get an overview of the library's resources and services.

Academic Libraries

Academic libraries serve the college or academic institution faculty, staff, and students. Others may use the library resources but may not check out resources. The collection of resources in an academic library is geared to the coursework at the institution, so an academic library is not as likely to have popular fiction, self-help books, or children's literature.

poster of antique map with caption chart your course at the library

Here are some examples of how academic libraries can help you:

  • As you learned in earlier chapters, libraries have hundreds to thousands of useful reference books, magazines and journals, newspapers, subscription library online databases, thousands of circulating books, and many more resources.
  • When you have a research topic and have no idea where to begin, ask the librarian for assistance.
  • When you need to find quality statistics for your research paper and the Internet is not giving you what you want, ask the librarian for assistance.
  • When you use the library's resources and have difficulty finding information on your topic, ask the librarian for assistance.
  • When you are not sure if an Web site is a quality site or not, ask the librarian for assistance.
  • When you need bibliography format sheets and research tips, check the library Web site.

Public Libraries

poster of Statue of Liberty with caption freedom to read at the library poster of help wanted ads with caption check out a job at the library
  • Public libraries serve the whole community, all ages, all walks of life.
  • Public libraries are places for lifelong learning and personal pursuits.
  • Whether you want a storytime for your pre-schooler, summer reading clubs for your children, adult book clubs, the public library is likely to have it.
  • Whether you want pleasure reading or want to pursue knowledge for your work or personal satisfaction, the library has it.
  • Public libraries usually have public access computers, may lend videos, DVDs, and CDs.
  • Whether you need consumer information, legal information, health information, the public library will likely have it.
  • The librarians at the public library reference desk will assist you in finding the information you need, just ask.

Graphics on this page courtesy of Library Media & PR (

Chapter 10 — Page 10