Top 10 Tips for Traversing the Library – OurWarwick

Top 10 Tips for Traversing the Library

Nothing makes you feel more like a real university historian than going to the library. The feeling of swaggering around with a few books under your arm as you stride purposefully to a place of study like one of the more studious background characters in Harry Potter is like no other.

Using the Library has been an essential part of my experience doing history at Warwick both for research and studying so I wanted to help you guys with some pro-tips.

Here are my top tips for using your new best friend:

  1. Get there early: the Library has many seats but demand is always greater than supply so if you want to study at a desk, get there early.

  2. Look up books beforehand: Come prepared. When I know what books I want, I look them up on the library search engine first, take a picture of the location reference with my phone and I’m all good. This speeds up the whole process of finding the books.

  3. Look at the recommended further reading list: For each week’s lectures in my modules, the History dept website has had a list of reading to help me understand the topic and get to grips with the content. There has also been a section of “Further Reading” which is a list of other books and materials that the tutor has determined will help you if you choose to write about the topic. I make this my first point of call when looking for sources for my essays.

  4. Check the library doesn’t have a digital copy: One of the great things about the internet is that often, the texts I wanted were available as ebooks or online journals meaning I never had to go and get a physical copy. A lot has been digitised but not everything so I have still regularly needed to track down physical copies.

  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: There are always Library staff roaming around (or even other students) who can help point you in the right direction or show you how something works. I remember asking a staff member for help finding a certain section in my 1st year and they went out of their way to help me find what I wanted. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is a rookie move, we all have to start somewhere.

  6. Make sure you check them out before leaving: use the scanners near the exit to register that you want to borrow them before you try and leave. It has been a little embarrasing when I’ve tried to leave and forgotten to check my books out.

  7. Don’t get out too many books at once: Watch that you don’t get out more books than you can actually carry. Having a pile of books the height of your torso will make you look studious but will probably just give you tired arms. I remember one time taking back a pile of books so large that when I cradled them in my arms I had to crane my neck to see around them. This made it quite difficult to get them back to my halls – but I got there. Or, if you do need to get out a bunch of books at once, just bring a bag. A lesson I learned the hard way…

  8. Renewing the books: If you need to keep a book longer than the standard borrowing period (2 weeks) you can renew them online. The Library team will helpfully send you an email to remind you that you have a couple of days before your time is up. There will be a link you can follow in the email through which you can get more time, without having to come into the library itself.

  9. Return the books on time: make sure you return the books on time or you will start incurring fines. The fines are very small but over the course of your degree they add up. But, when you do return them, the library rewards you by being able to use this magical machine:

  10. Keep an eye out for gems: You never know what you might see as you wander the numerous towering shelves. Keep an eye out and you might catch of glimpse of something you’ll never forget, like this gem a friend of mine spotted last week:


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