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Campus library services help students succeed

A librarian working the reference desk of the Chemeketa library on a quiet afternoon.

By Samantha Guadagno

A good campus library can make or break a student’s college experience.

But figuring out how to use the myriad of resources available in the library can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, Chemeketa’s librarians are there to help.

“You think you have to know what you’re doing and figure it out yourself, but don’t be shy about asking for help for so many services on campus,” Theresa Yancey, a reference and instruction librarian at the Chemeketa library, said.

The library provides many services for students to take advantage of. Students can check out not only books on a variety of topics, but also magazines, journals, DVDs, circulating media, and netbook computers. If there’s something you want that the library doesn’t have, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unobtainable, thanks to the interlibrary loan service.

“If we don’t have a book in our collection, we can relatively easily do a search and see which libraries do and then you can request it online, and it’s a free service to have that book sent to you to check out here,” Yancy said. “It’s pretty slick.”

But the campus library does much more than just lend materials to students. It also provides students with valuable tools they can use while they’re there.

Reserve materials are provided by instructors for student use. Online, these include articles and other class readings. Other reserve materials are available exclusively at the circulation desk, like laptops, textbooks, and videos, most of which are available for around two hours of in-library use, meaning you can’t take them outside of the library. All of these can be easily accessed with your student I.D. card.

As it turns out, your student I.D. is one of the most important things you can take to the library as a student.

“If they want to use a computer, they have to log into the computer, and logging into the computer requires a number that’s on the student I.D. card. It’s not the K number,” Yancey said.

“A lot of students will take a picture of their student I.D. cards so they have the number, so if they’re not in the habit of having their student I.D. card with them, they’re probably in the habit of having their phone with them.”

The library’s computer center can be used for everything from doing homework to checking email. It can even be used for less academic purposes like filling out applications or simply spending time browsing the internet.

Students using the Computer Center located in the library.

Students can also access printers in the library for a small fee.

“You’ll be asked to use your My Chemeketa username and password, and then the print job will go into an electronic queue, waiting to be printed in the print center under the exit sign, and it isn’t until you pay for it that it’ll actually print,” Yancey said.

Paying for printing is simple. A machine in the Printing Center can be used to set up a printing account. Then, just swipe your student I.D. card at any of the printers and select your job.“…It’s almost like a debit card for printing. Once you get yourself all set up you go into the Print Center, swipe your card, and your job prints,” Yancey said.

If a student or member of the public has trouble with anything computer or printing related, they need not panic.

“There are instructional assistants available to help students use the computers. So everything from getting onto Wi-Fi, to printing, to using computer applications, if they need to format a paper and they don’t know how to do margins or something like that, there are people here to help,” Yancey said.

“If your instructor says ‘I want you to format this paper in APA style,’ they know what that means and they can show you how to set it up that way.

“It’s a wonderful arrangement having the computer lab up here in the library and the people to help students use computers in the library.”

Contrary to popular belief, the computer stations are the only places where there are strict rules regarding eating and drinking in the library.

Yancey clarified that drinks must be put on a shelf while at the computers, but that “A lot of people come in here and sit at these tables and do their homework and eat lunch or dinner. That’s fine.” As long as the food is neither messy nor offensive to anyone, students can absolutely eat in the library.

Another key library service that can be accessed from inside the library or from home is research of credible sources, a topic in which Yancey, as a reference librarian, is well versed.

“Not everything is available for free with the Google search, right? You know you still hear people say, ‘you can find everything on the internet.’ No, you really can’t find everything for free and a lot of the resources that students should be using for college level research and writing college level papers is not free with the Google search,” she said. “And so that’s why it’s really important for them to know that it is available on the computer and we’re happy to show them how to get to it.”

Yancey and her fellow librarians are always willing to help students track down those coveted sources.

“We really do like helping students,” she said. “I mean we really do enjoy doing that. Don’t be shy about asking for help. I think that’s important.”

These college worthy sources, as well as help on how to find them, can be accessed by students off campus through the library’s website .

“There are just a handful, like the automotive databases, that you have to be on campus to use. But the majority, great majority of our databases are available from off campus,” Yancey said. “The database needs to know that you’re a Chemeketa student, so you would log in with your My Chemeketa username and password.”

If a student encounters any trouble with logging in or finding what they need off campus, Yancey says: “there’s a chat box they can use and as long as a Chemeketa librarian is logged in we’ll answer their questions by chat, and if we’re not logged in it’s another librarian in the state or even somewhere around the country will help answer their questions.” The chat is open 24/7 and can be found under the section labeled ‘Ask a Question.’”

But even if an article or journal isn’t available at the Chemeketa library, librarians can request these materials from other libraries through the same interlibrary loan service they use for requesting books.

“What we do is we find a library that does have that issue of that journal and they photocopy the article and send it here for you. And that’s a free service also. It takes a few days to do that though.”

The Chemeketa library also houses the college’s Writing Center. In the Writing Center, students can get help with anything from personal writing to classwork.

“If you’re working on a resume or cover letter or not necessarily writing you have to turn in to a class but any writing they’ll help with. And it’s important, they would probably tell you: they don’t proofread. You don’t turn in a paper and they fix it. It’s additional writing instruction, is really what it is, in addition to what you’re getting in the classroom,” Yancey said.

No matter what your reason for using the library is, Yancey wants library patrons to know that help is always just a question away.

“You know, I think a lot of students think that they don’t want to come to the reference desk and ask a question until they’ve got a really clear question,” she said. “Sometimes students just don’t quite know where they’re going yet and maybe don’t even [know] how to ask the question that they want to ask yet, and we can help them with that too.”

The library is located on the second floor of Bldg. 9. Though some services require a student I.D. card or a public library card, the library is open to everyone, including non-student members of the general public.