UMASS Blog

Getting to know your library…

As an English Literature undergraduate here at The University of Manchester I got to know the library quite well, and by the end of my degree I knew the library like the back of my hand, but it wasn’t so easy to find my way round it at first so I’m going to share with you my top tips!

The Learning Commons

Top tip: In your first week at University you should find out information about which libraries you will be using the most, and also how to use the library- I highly recommend you attend these sessions! The library also run their own session throughout the year about using its resources and referencing, and the staff are all very friendly and helpful if you can’t find what you are looking for!

The University of Manchester has eleven libraries in total- some cater for all disciplines such as the Main Library and the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, whereas other libraries are more subject specific (e.g. The Stopford Library is the medical library). Also, sometimes you can get the same book from more than one library or from the High Demand section; therefore it is worth remembering that you may have this option when you can’t find the book you want in the Main Library!

The Main Library is the largest single-site University library in the UK, therefore it can be quite daunting at first when you go to try and find a book (it has over 4 millions printed books and manuscripts!). Make sure you familiarise yourself with how to use the online library catalogue, as this will help you find the books you need as you can search by topic, author and title, and it will tell you the exact location of the book and whether it is in stock or not.  You can also use the library catalogue to reserve books which are already on loan.

The Main Library

Top tip: You can keep a track on your loans, reserves and fines(!) by using your online account. This also lets you renew books online making it easier to avoid hefty fines!

As well as books, the library will also provide you with access to over 41,000 electronic journals, 500,000 electronic books and several hundred databases, all of which you can access through the online library catalogue using your central log in.

However, the library isn’t just for finding resources to help you with your studying, it is also a study space and many students (myself included) choose to work in the library. Across the library sites there are over 650 computers (not including other computer clusters on campus) all with printing facilities, and hundreds of study spaces (all in quiet or silent zones) many of which have access to a power point (so you can use your laptop) and also a large number of group study rooms which can be booked. Plus the University has just opened the £24 million Alan Gilbert Learning Commons which is full of high-tech study spaces and is open 24/7 in term time so you can study when it suits you best!

Top tip: the library and its study spaces tend to get really busy around exam time, so get there early if you can!

To find out more about the University library visit: http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/