Image: Stephen Richards/ Geograph

A fresher’s guide to the Library

While university is the perfect time to have fun and socialise, eventually, the reality of doing a degree will kick in. When this reality sets in, the University Library is the perfect place to turn to. Whether you’re getting ahead on work or cramming an essay hours before the deadline, you will need to use the Library services at some point. It is a reality faced by all students and hopefully, equipped with this guide, you won’t be left alone and confused in the moving shelves.

Firstly, it is essential to note that the Library works closely with University academics to create reading lists. Digital reading lists available on Talis are automatically linked to the Library search catalogue, where you can access texts digitally or see the availability of a physical copy. Warwick’s Library fortunately has a wide array of texts available as ebooks, allowing you to access texts regardless of where you are in the world with zero waiting times or worries about availability. But, if you prefer, there are many physical copies available to borrow at your convenience, as the shelves are well-stocked with various texts on topics from manufacturing to occult science to statistical records. While finding the correct text in the Library may seem daunting at first, you will quickly master this. I would recommend learning the general location of your subject texts. For instance, law texts are found on the Floor 4, sciences on the Floor 2 Extension, and philosophy on Floor 3. Each text is marked with a classmark – a set of letters and numbers signifying its location. Helpfully, each floor has an interactive screen featuring a map of each floor showing the general area of each classmark. However, if you do still find yourself wandering aimlessly, Library staff are always on hand to point you in the right direction.

Whilst at Warwick you will inevitably find a favourite spot there which becomes a second home during exam periods

Once you’ve found the book you want, you can check it out using the screens on Floor 1 or return it to the shelves by using the bookparks located on each floor. As of this academic year, you can borrow up to 999 books up until the end of each academic year. If physically navigating the Library is overwhelming, there is also a click-and-collect service available. However, it is essential to note that the text may become unavailable during that time, and you may end up on a waitlist for that text. In the unlikely event that the text you desire is not available through the Library, you can request access. Staff will assess the usefulness of the text and then purchase or borrow it from another library. Scanned chapters can be obtained from around the world within 24 hours – meaning that through the Library, the resources accessible to Warwick students are seemingly limitless.

As one of the many study spaces on campus, the Library is the ideal space to come write that last-minute essay or provide a nice change of scenery from your bedroom desk. Floors 1 and 2 have recently been renovated to provide a more social study space perfect for group projects (though to get a booth, you will have to arrive early in the day). Floors 3, 4, and 5 offer quiet study spaces optimal for focusing, and if that still isn’t quiet enough, the extensions offer absolute silence. These spaces are monitored for unnecessary noise during the day – the degree of success in this regard is up to you to decide. Whilst at Warwick, you will inevitably find a favourite spot that becomes a second home during exam periods. The popularity of the Library during these times is unparalleled and finding a spot during the day becomes difficult, so be prepared to get up early and find a desk. If arriving early doesn’t appeal to you then the Library’s flexible 24/7 opening hours means that you can come in later and burn the midnight oil to your heart’s desire.

The Library also provided services like Study Happy events which provide wellbeing support and a break from studying. During these events, you are free to take some time to yourself as well as talk to fellow students and Library staff. Study Happy is advertised on screens around the library and on social media, so keeping up with these events is easy. Often there are staff and student volunteers on Floor 1 near the gates who provide helpful advice regarding studying.

On top of this support, there is also a range of academic support, including sessions on Endnote to help with avoiding plagiarism. I would highly recommend following the Library on social media to keep up with all the support available. As well as this, I suggest that you familiarise yourself with the space early in the year so that when assessment periods roll around you don’t have to deal with the added stress of learning how to navigate the Library.

Hopefully, this guide helps with getting familiar with the Library and the resources it has on offer. This may seem daunting, which is completely understandable – every Warwick student has been there. But, I would really like to encourage you to visit the Library and take advantage of its resources while you’re here. The space and atmosphere are great for studying and soon it may feel like a second home.

You can follow the Library on Instagram and X (@warwicklibrary) alongside Facebook (@WarwickUniLibrary), and it also has a YouTube account (uowLibrary).


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