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High School to College Transition: What to expect at college libraries

More than one library on campus?

Many of your universities will have a variety of libraries on campus. These are generally organized by subject areas or disciplines and may be affiliated with your school.

Ask your librarians which library on campus may be the best place to start your research.

Here are a few of the nine libraries you can visit at Vanderbilt:

Central Library (fine arts, humanities & social sciences)

Central Library

Music Library

Science & Engineering Library

Science & Engineering Library

Music Library

Getting Help With Your Research

When you arrive at your university or college, you will find a wide variety of resources available to you through your library. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Ask a Reference Librarian:

Fortunately, you can expect to find at least one reference librarian who is a subject specialist in your broad area of research and others who can help you navigate your library's offerings. Reference desk help

Where Can I Find a Reference Librarian?

At some university libraries, a librarian will be available at a Reference or Information desk to provide immediate research assistance.

If there isn't a librarian on duty or if the library doesn't have a Reference desk, you may need to make an appointment or schedule a research consultation with your subject specialist.

I Prefer Email or Chat:

For quick answers to your questions, you will often find email or chat services at your library. Sometimes these services are called "Ask Us" or "Ask the Librarians".

The library is huge! Can anyone introduce me to the resources?

Most university libraries offer some type of orientation to the library - either during the first week or two you are on campus or as part of a first year course. 

Whether or not you attend a library orientation,  consider getting in touch with a reference librarian when it comes time to start your research.  He or she can reiterate the information from the orientation as well as help you start on your specific project.

Library Lingo

Reference (or Service) Desk
The place in the library where reference librarians and assistants give you directions, answer your questions, and show you how to find and use library materials.

reference librarian
Reference librarians have a master's degree in library science and usually another subject specific graduate degree as well. They can help you find materials needed for research, show you how to use online databases, and teach you about the research process.

Definitions from the University of Maryland Libraries' Library Lingo dictionary.