Today’s students have electronic resources barely dreamt of only a few years ago. But their reliance on online sources has resulted in their underuse of another resource: the library. For many students, until they begin their college education, there hasn’t been any research they’ve needed to do that they couldn’t find on the internet. However, the library still offers a wealth of sources not available online. And once students begin to be more seriously entrenched in their academic pursuits, they may find online sources inadequate for certain types of research.
The local library and the school library can offer a multitude of sources not available online. Despite the many out of print books offered online, not everything has been scanned and digitally saved, especially when it comes to niche topics. And as students progress in their studies, they’ll find their areas of research become more and more specific. While each library may not have access to precisely what the student requires, the interlibrary loan system makes acquiring books from other libraries a simple process.
There are also online resources available only by going through the library network. Many scholarly journals available only for a high fee to individuals can be found inexpensively or freely offered through a library network. If the journal exists but isn’t available online even through the network, a librarian can often help locate a physical copy at another location which can be borrowed through interlibrary loans as well.
Not every source can be adequately saved as a digital version. There are books and prints not scanned because of their size, and there are vast untouched archives of older material. Sometimes these materials can’t even be taken from the library and need to be studied on site.
Libraries also offer one of the best possible environments for working on one’s term paper. With fast internet access, lack of distraction, and hundreds or thousands of relevant resources only steps away, there are few better places for a student to study or write than a library.
For the stumped student, libraries can also offer expert advice. Librarians deal in information and organizing it as a career. If you’ve hit an obstacle in your research, you may be surprised at how helpful your unassuming local librarian can be.