A UVic student guide to the library’s support services

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The library expects to return to business as usual this fall

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For many students, the library is a space to study. But beyond the desk spaces and dusty books, the UVic libraries also offer an array of student supports. 

This fall, UVic Libraries is ready to help students start their research, find study spaces, and obtain technology for loan. With students returning to campus, librarians have spent the summer preparing for the start of classes. 

“We’re going to try and get back to normal as much as possible,” said Access Services Manager, Marthèse Cassar. “The building will be open, and people can come and go as they have in the past.”

In this article, we’ve summarized some of the best resources students can utilize at the UVic library. Whether you need help researching a paper on dolphin fins or getting a video recorder for a fine arts project, librarians can help you get the tools and information you require. 

Starting your research 

The library can provide a wealth of resources for your academic papers. It can be intimidating, however, to go through all the rows of library books searching for one relevant to your topic. 

A good place to start your paper research is the subject guides or subject librarians. These guides are by subject area so you can find the academic journal database that has sources relevant to your topic. You can also contact subject librarians, who can help with your research questions and suggest additional resources. 

If you’re checking out library materials, you can use the library’s Retrieve system. After selecting an item on the library website, you will be able to sign it out and pick it up from the Holds shelf, following the same procedures in place pre-pandemic. With the Retrieve system, you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the halls of shelves.

As you conduct your research, keep in mind that you must return your books in a timely manner. If you exceed the 28-day loan due date, late return charges will start incurring. However, if the book is recalled within the 28-day loan period, you will have seven days to return it to the library before it becomes overdue. You can always check the status of your books on your My Library account.

This summer, the library has partnered with the UVic Global Community to create a Learn How to Use the UVic Libraries workshop. This workshop will help you learn more about how the library’s resources can help with your research. 

The library also houses the Centre for Academic Communication. Once you have written your essay, you can bring it to the CAC specialists who can provide suggestions on how to improve it. The CAC offers free support to students in the form of workshops and one-on-one tutorials, including online tutoring on Zoom. If you need extra help with reading, writing, or even understanding your class material, the CAC is worth a visit.  

Study spaces 

The library has a lot of space for students to study, do group work, and relax. 

There are smaller study rooms available for you to book in advance when you need a quiet space to take online courses while on campus. If you have a group project, study spaces previously restricted to individual bookings are open for group study from September 7. 

Special Collections and University Archives, which required advance booking for two-hour research visits, will return to their regular hours.

The Centre for Academic Communications, the Digital Scholarship Commons, the International Student Commons, and study spaces in the BiblioCafé will reopen on campus as well. Additionally, there will be a new space called Unplug(ged) in the north east corner of the McPherson Library’s main floor. It will offer a tech-free zone for you to read and relax. 

You can contact the Ask Us Desk to book Respite rooms for more relaxation options in the McPherson Library and the Law Library as well. 

Technology available for loan 

If you need some technology for a course, you might not need to buy it. At the library, they loan out media equipment for students to use. 

Over the summer, the UVic Libraries received funding to purchase 70 laptops, loaning them to students for extended two-week periods.

Media equipment, like cameras and microphones were limited to one-day loans. The loan period will increase to three-day loans this fall.

To loan out any technology, head to the library’s Ask Us Desk. 

If you face challenges with online or in-person access to classes and course material, you can still get support from the UVic Libraries.

According to Cassar, providing electronic access to library resources has been a priority. “Throughout the pandemic, we have increased our purchase of electronic books … to fulfill [student] requests,” she said.

“Any questions that you have, don’t hesitate to come to the desk, and even if it’s not library related, maybe we can get you pointed in the right direction,” said Cassar.

If you are starting your research, looking for study space, or going to borrow media equipment, the UVic Libraries is there to help.