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Answering a question at the Chemistry Library
Answering a question at the Chemistry Library

Welcome back, Badgers! We here at the Libraries hope you had a terrific winter break and we’re excited to have you back on campus for the spring semester. If you’re new to UW this January, extra special greetings to you!

Thousands of UW students take advantage of the Libraries on a regular basis. Maybe you come by so much that the reference librarians know you by name, or maybe you’re planning on venturing into the stacks for the first time this semester.

The Libraries have a lot to offer beyond quiet learning spaces, free equipment checkout, and study materials. UW’s library system is nationally renowned, with a strong history of providing access to materials for students, faculty, and staff with wide varieties of interests and needs. At any one of our campus locations, you’ll find the highest quality research information, consultation services, technology, and space. Simply put: the Libraries are here to help you succeed. Here are some ways you can make the most of our services this semester:

Survival Tip 1: Get To A Library – Fast!

There are a lot of libraries at UW-Madison. Really, a lot. They are all diverse, abundant, and accessible whenever and wherever you need them, thanks to our online resources. The Libraries manage the 11th largest research collection in North America and provide access to print and digital materials from our facilities at UW-Madison and around the world.

The General Library System (GLS) includes Memorial (humanities and social sciences), College (undergraduate), and Steenbock (agriculture and life sciences) Libraries, as well as an additional 13 subject libraries.

Our other libraries include Law, Ebling Library for the Health Sciences, Engineering (Wendt Commons), and Education. The Wisconsin Historical Society Library & Archives is the North American History library on campus. We also have Special Purpose libraries, which service individual departments and programs..

It can be overwhelming trying to remember which library is which and where they all are. Just remember, if you’re looking for materials about a specific subject but you’re not sure where to go, you can always consult our website (www.library.wisc.edu) and we’ll point you in the right direction. You’ll have it down in no time.

Need a tutor?
Need a tutor?

Survival Tip 2: Find Your Resource of Choice

So, you’ve found a library. What do you need?

You can borrow, renew, and request materials. If you need special equipment, like video or still cameras, laptops, or projectors, check for availability online and then pick up your equipment at its specified location. Need to print? Bring your work to us. From papers to posters, we’ve got you covered.

You can also interact with expert librarians, request resources from libraries around the world, and even participate in instructional sessions to learn more about how our resources can enhance your education (more on these services below).

Survival Tip 3: Make a Reservation

Reserve rooms to conduct group study sessions and projects, or find your focus by disappearing into a quiet study room. Whatever your study style, we can provide the space.

You can also reserve special course materials such as books, articles, videos, solution sets, and even exams that your instructor has selected for use by students enrolled in a specific course. Physical materials are located at libraries across campus. Online content (articles, book chapters, etc.) may be accessed both on and off campus.

Survival Tip 4: Use Our Connections

If you’ve got a question that we don’t know the answer to, we’ve got plenty of friends who are willing to help out!

Our “Ask” service allows you to call, text, email, or join an online chat with a librarian who can answer your questions or search for materials from afar.

Looking for a resource not available within the UW-Madison or UW System collections? Our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) offers free access to materials you need for coursework or scholarly research, putting libraries around the world at your fingertips.

Students, faculty, staff of UW-Madison living outside of Dane County are encouraged to access our distance services option.

Don’t forget to cite. Our citation manager software can gather references automatically from article database; format manuscripts and citations in a variety of styles; generate bibliographies, create and organize a personal research database of references, images, and PDFs; share citations with colleagues on campus and around the world; and transfer references among various applications.

WisCEL-2012-7662Survival Tip 5: Accept the Invitation

Check out our library tour schedule, join one of our upcoming workshops, or attend any of our events and exhibits throughout the year.

If you need more in-depth training, ask about customized instructional sessions. Instructional services connect students to the most appropriate research materials and help develop critical research skills.

So, stop in or log on to visit us. You’ll quickly find that we’re not your grandparents’ or even your parents’ library (but we do have historically significant materials to prove that even they were cool once too). Don’t believe us? Just visit our University Archives, Digital or Special Collections and search through a treasure trove of historical records and documents.

“The modern research library supports knowledge acquisition and creation—with information resources, technology, and opportunities for collaboration,”  says Ed Van Gemert, Vice Provost for Libraries. “The library facilitates not only your preparation for this semester’s classes, but also helps you to develop a foundation for information management skills for your chosen profession.”

Bottom line: Your success is our mission. Let us help you find your place this year.

On Wisconsin!