Political Science Graduate Student Orientation: Fall 2021

Interlibrary Loan

Use Interlibrary Loan to request materials, including books and journal articles, that VU doesn't own. Turnaround time for delivery can vary, so plan that into your request. Get to the request form with the button below. Log in with your VUNet ID.

Your Library Account

Your library account is your gateway for checking out, renewing, and requesting materials. Stop by the circulation desk at Central Library to get your Commodore Card paired with a library account. Log in to your account using the Library Catalog catalog by clicking the "Account Login" link. Once you are authenticated, you can:

  • See the full list of what materials you have checked out and what dates they are due
  • Automatically renew materials without bringing them back to the library building
  • Create alerts to get notified by email when any new material gets added to the collection by any author you select or any subject area you select.


Google Scholar (with VU Settings)

Click the button below to access Google Scholar settings that are specific to Vanderbilt holdings. This link will take you to a Google Scholar search box automatically populated with the settings for Google Scholar when you are off-campus or when you have not previously signed into a Google account with the settings already specified. The page will link to VU e-journal content without any subsequent need to sign in.


What is ?

FindIt@VU provides a direct link from a database citation to the fulltext of the article (if available) and other supporting resources.

Some databases and publisher journal platforms to which the library has subscriptions are "findit@VU-enabled." Many of the records in these databases will display the findit@VU button . Click on the button next to the cite or the article link to see a menu with links to full text and other services.


The quickest way to get to the Central Library via The Commons is to take the pedestrian breezeway across 21st Avenue that runs along Edgehill Avenue past Peabody building. Follow the breezeway across 21st, take a right, and keep going along the edge of the Medical Research Building III until you hit the Science & Engineering Library. The entrance to the Central Library is roughly 100 yards north of the Science & Engineering Library. It's about two-fifths of a mile from the Commons to Central Library.

Librarian for Political Science/Government Information/Communication Studies/Cinema & Media Arts

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Frank Lester

Zoom Office Hours:
Thursdays 4.00pm - 6.00pm

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ph (615) 343-8796

Welcome and Quick Links


Congratulations on joining the Vanderbilt community -- and welcome to the Vanderbilt Library system. Get oriented to the library by visiting our website using the quick-access buttons below.

There are seven libraries in the VU system, including the main library, which is called Central (see the map on the right). The other libraries on campus include DivinityPeabody, Music, Walker (Management), Law, Science & Engineering, and Eskind Biomedical. We also have an amazing Special Collections department (part of which is the Vanderbilt TV Archive). Each of the libraries has its own hours and borrowing policies. Check the individual library's website for more details, or ask a member of the staff there.

Your Subject Librarian

There are librarians who are experts in every subject area at Vanderbilt. Librarians work with your department and your faculty and with you to make sure that we provide the best and most targeted service for your research and scholarly needs.

You are also strongly encouraged to work with other subject librarians who have expertise in any interdisciplinary research you are conducting.

Here are several of the most important things your subject librarian can do for you to help you succeed:

  • Help find information and resources to stay current in your field. 
  • Advise on the best ways to find the broadest possible net of information specific to your focus of research, or, more generally, germane to the historical record of your field and not freely available on the web.
  • Customize research to focus directly on the resources that will be most useful for the area of interest you are pursuing for your thesis, dissertation, or other scholarly product.
  • Consult with you personally on a one-on-one and ongoing basis to find the best and most efficient ways to get the material you need for your research and to help you break through research dead ends.
  • Create research guides and plan and teach research instruction sessions for your students if you are TA'ing a class.
  • Expedite the process for getting material through interlibrary loan if VU doesn't have it.
  • Listen to and act on your recommendations for expanding the library collection's coverage in your field for areas that the library is currently lacking or behind in.
  • Purchase monographs, ebooks, or other materials that you need for your specific research.
  • Connect you directly with other subject specialists if your research takes you outside political science or if you need help with research in mutiple subject areas.

Using Library Resources Off Campus

To access journal articles from off campus, you must go through the library webpage using the e-journal locator. You need to enter your VUNet ID and password to be authenticated for access through the university proxy server.

Next you will want to make sure that the year of the article you are looking at is actually available via FindIt@VU. If there is not an electronic copy of the article you need, please check Library Catalog to see if there is a print copy. If Vanderbilt does not own a copy, you can request the title through Interlibrary Loan.

If you need further assistance, please consult any library staff.

FInding Articles: Key Resources

Not all of these databases will have full-text for all articles. Click on the "FindIt@VU" button next to the article link to find out whether the article you're interested in is available in full text through the specific database you're using.

You can view these databases as a Vanderbilt student both on and off campus. When you're off campus, the database will ask you to login with your VUNet ID.

Finding Social and Demographic Data

Other Useful Resources



Government Documents