Top 4 Strengths to Look For in a University Library
Finalising your college choices can be a challenging process. However, it’s useful to take into account the quality of the university’s library when making these final decisions: you’ll likely spend a lot of time studying and accessing resources in this library, speaking with staff, and sipping coffee from the building’s café.
With that in mind, we’ll walk you through the top 4 strengths to look for in a university library, from easy digital access to resources to a helpful group of staff.
Top 4 Strengths to Look For in a University Library: A Variety of High-Quality Study Spaces
Nowadays, one of the top factors prospective students are considering when looking at university libraries is whether these places have high-quality study spaces. This factor becomes particularly important when you consider that most students will rent out flats and houses in their final two to three years of university, so they will want to have access to a communal study space on campus.
If you’re looking around a university library, take some time to see whether there are a variety of high-quality study spaces in the building. You might want to check a number of more specific factors, like:
- WiFi signal and network connectivity: there’s no use setting up to study in a comfy recliner with a lovely third-floor view across the rest of campus if the WiFi is slow or stilted and you can’t get online.
- Café or canteen: if you know that you’re going to camp out in the library during the day, you might want to make sure that there’s a nice selection of hot and cold food available to you in the library café. Those students who require several cups of coffee to keep up with those deadlines should check out the quality of hot drinks on offer in the library.
- Non-quiet spaces: if you’re someone who likes to study with a bit of hustle and bustle going on around you, it’s worth checking to make sure that there are options to study near reception or in seminar-style rooms where you can chat with those around you rather than working in stifled silence all day.
For more advice on factors to look for when choosing the best university town for you, check out this article on the Choosing the Right Course for You section of the A&J Education website.
Excellent Access to Resources
Another crucial factor to consider is whether it’s easy to gain digital access to the library’s resources: these resources include things like physical books, eBooks, online articles, eTextbooks, and journal publications.
Effectively, you want to make sure that the university’s library portal has an intuitive user interface and is easy to use so that you can find the resources you need within a couple of minutes. Some portals are far easier to use than others, so it’s well worth getting a member of staff to sit down with you and go through the online system before you make any final university choices.
Top 4 Strengths to Look For in a University Library: Welcoming and Knowledgeable Staff
It’s also really important that students feel like they can ask library staff questions and get knowledgeable answers. If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to navigating the library floors and finding a physical book or narrowing your search on the online portal, you’ll want to speak to staff who can help you out.
Searching for specific resources on any library’s online portal is a fine art: you might be writing an essay on a particularly niche topic and don’t know which words to search for in order to find the most effective resources for research purposes. This is where the librarian comes in: they can help you to narrow down and refine your searches, leading you to find rare and exceptionally useful resources that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
A Sense of Belonging and Community
Finally, you’ll want to find a university library that fosters a sense of belonging and community. These words may sound relatively generic and non-quantifiable, but the best way to find out whether a library is a welcoming place is to reach out to and talk with current students. Find out the answers to questions like:
- Is the library the main study spot students use on campus?
- Does the library run community events and programmes?
- What are the staff like at the library?
- Is the library easy to navigate?
- Is the library’s online portal easy to navigate?
- Can you always find a study spot at the library, or is it always full?
When it comes to choosing the best university for you, it’s crucial to consider the quality of that university’s library. The top libraries are packed full of easily accessible resources, and they have a wide variety of comfortable study spots where you can camp out for a few hours and get that essay or coursework done.
Here are the top 4 strengths to look for in a university library:
- A wide variety of study spaces, including non-quiet areas.
- Easy access to a vast array of high-quality online resources.
- Welcoming and helpful library staff.
- Broader sense of community and belonging.
If you want more in-depth insights about university libraries, and about the university admissions process in general, get in touch with us to book a free consultation at A&J Education.