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Home » What All Libraries Have » Exercise: What Your Library Has

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These exercises have been provided to help students learn about library services and researching. They may be used by an instructor as an assignment.

Exercise: What Your Library Has

Go on a trip to your library — learn all about it

Learning Objective: Identify the major departments, services, and information storage formats in a library in order to more effectively retrieve information.

Although you can do much of your research via computer from home, there are times when you will need to go to a library. The exercise may be done at any academic library, using a research topic of your choice.

It is perfectly fine — in fact, it will save you time and you will learn more — if you ask the library staff for help.

INSTRUCTIONS: Print out this page and fill in the blanks.

Library name _____________________________________________

Your Research Topic statement:



  1. Circulation Desk
    Is there a limit on how many books you can check out at one time?

    _____Y _____N (if no, what is the limit? ______ )

  2. The Reference Room
    Ask the reference librarian for help in finding an encyclopedia article that has background information on your topic.

    Title of encyclopedia _______________________________________

  3. Finding a book
    Use the online catalog to locate a book on your topic. Go find the book in the stacks. Now browse through the books shelved near your book, and find one more book that might be useful for your topic. Make photocopies of the title pages of both books, and attach them to this sheet.

  4. Periodicals

    1. Does your library have the Journal of Abnormal Psychology?

      If yes, what is the earliest year owned? _________________

      Are the earlier years: ____ bound? ____ on microfilm/fiche?

    2. Does your library own the New York Times from the day you were born?

      If yes, make a photocopy of the front page and attach it to this sheet.

      If no, find another newspaper article from the day you were born on microfilm, make a copy of it, and attach it to this sheet.

  5. Interlibrary Loan

    Is there a charge to borrow books through Interlibrary Loan?

    _____Y _____N

    How much does it cost to get copies of articles through Interlibrary Loan?


  6. Government Documents

    1. How do you search for U.S. government documents in your library?

      _____ They are included in the online catalog

      _____ Use a separate index/catalog just for government documents

      _____ My library is not a depository library for U.S. government documents

  7. Media

    Does your library have a media collection?

    If yes, can you check out the videos? _____Y _____N

  8. Special Collections

    Does your library have a separate room for rare books and manuscripts?

    _____Y _____N

Submit your work to your instructor if required.

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