Have you ever wondered what a librarian’s job looks like? Or what exactly the faculty and staff members at the Undergraduate Library do during the day? We’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the UGL in our new blog series “A Day in the Life.”
Don’t let your research and writing questions run rings around you – come to Office Hours @ the UGL, and get help reaching that final frontier – before you reach the deadlines for your assignments!
No matter what your mission – to explore strange databases, to seek out new articles and new peer-reviewed journals, to boldly cite what none of your classmates have cited before – you can get help at Office Hours. Simply come to room 291 of the UGL on Tuesdays from 7-9 PM, and on Wednesdays from 2-4 PM, and get help with any step of the research process. Whether you just have a quick question or need in-depth, one-on-one research help, we’re here for you. Tutors from the Writer’s Workshop are also available during Office Hours, their phasers set to ‘stunningly helpful,’ ready to aid you with your quick writing questions.
You don’t need an appointment for any of these services – just mosey on in, space cowboy, and we’ll get you the help you need. There are a few steps you can take to make sure the launch goes smoothly:
- Bring the details of your assignment with you, if you’re working on something specific. Knowing what you’re working on helps us help you better!
- Let us know if you’ve already gotten started on your own, so we can start in an appropriate place in the process.
If you’re looking for help with all this space-age media that surrounds you, you can also visit the UGL for a Media Commons consultation. We’ve got all your needs covered – so why don’t you pop into our orbit and get some help? It’s only logical.
“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”
While this quote may be attributed to the prolific Taylor Swift, it’s actually pretty true–and the Undergraduate Library is no exception. Classes just started, but if you’ve already made your way to the UGL (or if you’re planning on doing it soon–which you totally should!), you may notice that a few things are a little different.
For starters, our Research Desk has moved! Now, it’s directly in front of you as you walk in on the upper level (just next to the printers). The librarians and graduate assistants who staff it are no longer sitting behind a tall desk with a bulky computer–instead, we’ve got a mobile iPad so we can better help out anywhere in the library. However, our knowledge and services are still the same–so please stop by with any questions you have about using the library, finding a book, doing research for a homework assignment or how to get to Room 66 (or anything else you can think of).
Our Circulation & Reserves Desk is in the same place, and our wonderful staff and student assistants are also here to help you check out books and movies, find course reserves and use our loanable technology items (among many, many other things). They can also help you activate your I-Card if you are a new student or have a new card this year.
We also updated our printing procedures last spring, so here’s a refresher on how to print in the UGL (we’ve got black & white and color, and you can pay cash or charge it to your student account).
We’re pretty stoked about the new look and the new year, and we hope you are, too! If you’ve got any suggestions, let us know here or in the comments!
So, Summer I classes are almost half way over. Uh, whoa! That was super-fast! Condensed coursework is great because you get to rack up some credits a whole lot quicker. But they can also be a bummer because they tend to be much more intensive with tighter deadlines than a normal semester class. But if you’re taking a class right now, we don’t need to tell you that, huh?
If the half-way point of your Summer I class means it’s time to get your research on, never fear! The UGL has some quick-n-easy resources that will help you maximize your research capabilities (and theoretically maximize your grade), all while minimizing the time you actually need to spend in the library. In fact, the time you need to physically be inside the library could add up to a whopping zero hours. Is your mind blown? Well, it should be. Here are some trade secrets for helping you through a research paper – from conceptualizing an idea to polishing the works cited page – that are all one or two clicks away on the UGL homepage.
Meet your new best friend, the “Find” Button
Located in the upper left corner of the UGL homepage, hovering over the “Find” button gives you the keys to a whole bundle of helpful stuff, such as:
- Need facts and contextual info on a topic? Click on “Background Info” to search our online encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, etc. You can search by subject area, resource type, or just a plain old-fashioned keyword search—user’s choice!
- Need to narrow down a broad topic? Click on “Subject Guides” and be privy to a whole list of custom-made research guides. These guides break down common topics such as climate change, the Iraq War, teen pregnancy or media bias with a topic overview, background info, tips on finding relevant articles and books, and helpful websites.
- Need a couple peer-reviewed articles? Click on “Articles” and you’ll automatically land on our handy “Find Articles Guide” page. Divided by multi-topic or subject-specific, this page provides links into the most commonly used databases, where you can search for articles on everything from the effects of UV rays on college students’ appetites to the sociological impacts of taking a summer road trip with a handful of your closest buds. (Extra pro tip: try looking for the department your class is in if you’re stuck—for example, if you’re taking a psych class, PscyINFO could be a good place to start.)
A Cite For Sore Eyes
Citations, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. Ever feel this way while working on the reference list for your paper? Well, there’s an app for that. Err, um, a link, anyway. Near the center of the UGL homepage, under the orange “Learn” heading is a link to the APA, MLA Guides. One click here takes you to a list of resources for perfecting your citations—both in the text and in the works cited list. Oh, your instructor is requesting Chicago Style? That’s covered, too!
Ask Us! (Online)
There’s a live help chat box embedded in the UGL homepage, and it’s staffed M-F from 9am-5:30pm and Saturday & Sunday from 1pm-4:30pm. Just one more way you can get a little extra push from a librarian without leaving the air conditioned comfort of your bedroom (or the sweltering pool deck at the ARC, if your wireless so allows).
One last tip…
Our online library resources are available to you wherever you are—you just need an internet connection and your Net ID/password to access from off campus. Your crazy-busy Summer I sched might be cramping your grill out/lay out/work out seshes, but time spent in the library (while we’d be happy to have you!) doesn’t have to get in the way of your fabulous summer.
Questions about anything you read here? Ask-A-Librarian!
Yep, we love you. You, the readers of this blog, the people who populate the UGL 24 hours, five days a week, and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. The group meeting holders, the laptop check-outers, the reference desk question-askers. All of y’all.
But here’s the thing: we want to hear from you! Because we can change things, you know? We just need to know what you think, the changes you want to see, or even what you think we’re doing well. And we’ll all enjoy our time spent in this crazy place called the UGL even more.
Last December, this really awesome thing happened where one of you – namely a now-graduated Lihy Epstein* – wrote an homage of sorts to the UGL, a place she spent many-an-hour over the course of her time at U of I. She, and we, encourage all of you to keep up the spirit of her gesture by letting us know what we’re doing that you like and don’t like. Here’s Lihy’s list of top 11 reasons she loves the UGL, just to get your mind grapes juicin’:
“1. Suggestions for renting technology equipment more suitable for my needs (that I hadn’t known was available).
2. Polite taps on the shoulder when my phone alarm was blaring during my 4-5am naps.
3. Assistance navigating the infinite databases in search of obscure information, which at times was found best through a simple Google search.
4. Assistance with the Dewey Decimal system.
5. All the remodeling that made this place better.
6. Making the library safer by restricting entry and re-entry to students and faculty between midnight and 6 am.
7. April Fool’s humor that made me realize how gullible I was (charging for staples and paper clips).
8. Frequent reminders not to leave my laptop and other valuables under the guise of someone random.
9. Permitting me to bring in the remainder of my pizza that I promised not to eat within the library.
10. Not kicking me out when you saw me sneak a bite.
11. Most importantly, friendly conversations at the wee hours of the morning when we all would rather be sleeping.”
(Awww, shucks…thanks for the compliments…we’re blushing!)
You might not write us a letter like this (although you could!), and you might not even visit us in person, but there are a lot of ways to send us suggestions and comments:
The Suggestion Box: It lives next to the circulation desk on the upper level. It is a box covered in stickers where you can toss in your suggestions about the UGL’s space and resources. We read them all, and we post some of them on the Suggestion Board which lives just above the box. Quite a pair, those two.
The Humans: The people who work here are all happy to listen to any suggestions or ideas that you have, at any old time of the day (we’re here, like, all the time)! We will happily pass your ideas and issues along to a supervisor who will work on them. Teamwork is our middle name!
This Here Blog (and our other social media ventures!): Comments are enabled and welcome. You can comment on any post or even ask us questions. PLUS: subscribe to our RSS and share posts on Facebook, Reddit, and more. We’re also @askundergrad on Twitter, and will respond to questions or comments you send our way there (just mention or direct message us – give us a few hours cuz we’re not always there!). Friend or like us on Facebook and share your comments that way, too.
* Thanks, Lihy, for letting us post this! You’re famous!
It’s getting to be midterms time, which means you’re probably feeling pretty busy these days. Maybe you’re working on a research paper, but you still haven’t found enough sources to support your thesis. Or maybe you’re searching for articles in one of the library’s databases, but your searches are coming up short. Regardless of your research problem, we can help. While you can always talk to a librarian at the UGL’s research desk or online via Ask a Librarian, if you think you need a more in-depth research consultation, visit us at Office Hours!
Office Hours is a drop-in service created with the busy student in mind. At each Office Hours session, you will have the opportunity to get one-on-one research help from one of the UGL’s expert researchers (librarians and graduate assistants). And, during Office Hours at the UGL on Mondays, you can also meet with someone from the Writer’s Workshop to get quick answers to writing questions.
So, drop on by to get help developing a research topic, finding credible information, creating a bibliography, or solving any research/writing problems you might have.
Office Hours Spring Schedule*
February 20th – April 24th
Mondays, 2-4PM, Room 291, Undergraduate Library
Tuesdays, 7-9PM, Ikenberry Commons (aka “the Ike”), Room 1010, First Floor Learning Commons
*Librarian’s Office Hours are also available for student athletes on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 in the Irwin Academic Center, March 14 – April 25.
Who wouldn’t want to meet with these research Olympians?
Ever wondered what we do at the UGL? I mean, you walk past some people at the desks at the front who seem to be up to something, but what is it? Well, this week we want to tell you a bit about what we do at the research desk. (Stay tuned for the upcoming post: The Circulation Desk: Where the Magic Happens!)
Presenting: the who, what, when, where and why (but not in that order) of the research desk!
WHERE is the research desk?
We’re on the upper level (i.e. main floor, where the Espresso Royale is, with the sandwiches and the coffee) of the UGL, on your right as you enter the doors.
WHO works at the research desk?
The research desk is staffed by librarians and graduate assistants, aka GAs .The librarians are these awesome humans who have a huge wealth of knowledge and are more than willing to share it. The graduate assistants are a lot like the librarians, but usually younger, and they (we, actually, the writers of this blog are GAs) are in school here at UIUC getting their masters degrees in library and information science.
Okay, they sound cool enough, but WHAT do these people really do, though?
The librarians and GAs at the research desk are here to answer your every question about the library. We have skills and we love to use them to help you. Looking for a fun movie to watch this weekend? Ask at the research desk and we will show you how to look it up in the catalog, and how to understand what you see there so you can get your movie easily and quickly, and be on your way to a wonderful weekend. On the other end of the library spectrum, we also assist you with research. Need to find scholarly articles on the effects of video game violence on children? We will help you figure out where to look to find that information, how to search for it, and how to understand which sources are best for you. Basically, we want you to have mad skills.
WHY would you want that?
Well, it’s a wild, wild world out there, and we want you to be successful in navigating it. Basically, we know how hard it can be to find information when faced with all that the library offers. You may not even know what the library has (sometimes, we don’t either, but that’s part of the thrill of the chase). We want you to be able to use all the great resources that UIUC offers for you. These resources are for YOU and to USE, and we are here to help you do so. Cool, huh?
Yeah! That does sound kind of awesome, now that you put it that way. WHEN can I start using the research desk?
When you have a question! Ask us! But we’re not always here, even though we like to give that illusion. The UGL’s research desk is open from 11-9pm Monday through Friday, and Sunday. On Saturdays, everyone’s favorite day for coming to the library, there is a GA hanging out at the circulation desk (see next week’s post for more info) who can not only check out a laptop to you, but can also do all the cool research help stuff at the same time. You can also chat with a librarian via instant message, if that suits your needs better. That service is staffed by librarians and GAs from all over the UIUC library system (there are over 20 libraries on campus!).
So, there you have it, the long and short of the research desk. Next time you fly past us on your way to a serious study session, armed with your large iced no whip mocha with an extra shot, glance over and smile knowingly. You’ve got this.