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The Reading Room and Beyond: Emory Library Tips to Beat the Paper Blues

For Emory students, the “libes” is a popular place to study, hang out and maybe even catch up on an episode of How I Met Your Mother on one of the massive computer screens. But, there are a lot of people who’d really rather not face the walk, or climb the many flights of stairs that precede the search for a quiet cubicle or a seat in the Reading Room. The library is huge and can be intimidating, (or simply glorious, if you’re a book nerd like me), but once you uncover some of the resources that Emory has to offer its students, you won’t be able to work without them.
This semester, don’t turn in another paper littered with heavily circulated Google Scholar articles and entries from the encyclopedia (read: Wikipedia). Instead, wow your professors with what some might consider “old-school” modes of research located in the Woodruff Library.

SHH! This is a library!
Looking for old ladies in horn rimmed glasses? Well, you won’t find them at Woodruff. Our library has subject-specific librarians who know their stuff. Taking a GER that’s not necessarily your style?  You can shoot one of them an e-mail or make an appointment, and they will help you find everything you need to ace you paper. You can even IM a librarian! Who said they can’t be tech-savvy?
Also, don’t miss out on the librarians’ research guides.  Listed on the library’s website, you can find a comprehensive list of research topic suggestions and information (classified by class or topic). The range is pretty extensive – you can learn about anything from the history of the city of Atlanta to the history of western dance. Research guides are an easy way to get ideas for those difficult open-ended paper assignments.
Beg, Borrow, or Steal
Woodruff Library is home to 3.4 million volumes just begging to be taken the off the shelves.  Searching for books is easy on discoverE: it’s like a Google search for Woodruff books. The loan period for most books is 28 days, and you can renew them as many times as you want, as long as the book isn’t requested by another library-goer. If you can’t borrow a book directly, you can always scan the pages and send them to your email account from any copy machine in the library. This method sure beats paying for copies by conserving your money, not to mention trees!
The most difficult thing about borrowing books is having them recalled or trying to recall them from someone else. Sometimes, books get checked out indefinitely by faculty or graduate students – professors can keep books for up to a year without having to renew them! Surely, this is not helpful when it’s crunch time, and you have a paper due in two weeks (or, uhh…tomorrow?!). If this happens to you, try to recall the book. There’s a handy little “request” button that will shorten loan times and charge book-hoggers expensive fines (2 dollars a day!). But if you need info sooner, try getting it in one of the following ways.
WWL: The World Wide…Library?
Can’t find a book at Emory at all? Well, the library can get it for you. Simply go to InterLibrary Loan (ILL) on the second floor or the ILLiad tab on the library’s website and you can request books, articles, and dissertations from university libraries nationally and internationally. ILL has also worked for books that I’ve tried to recall at Emory but couldn’t locate.
Oh! The Places You’ll Go with ARCHE
Is the book you need just across town? As Emory students, we have access to the libraries at UGA, Tech, and Georgia State. The ARCHE program also gives Emory students access to 19 other university libraries in the Atlanta area if you sign up for a certain card. For both ILL and ILU (interlibrary use), Worldcat.org is a great website to locate the books you need.
This is my favorite part! If you simply cannot find a book (or if you enjoy trolling JSTOR), never fear! Emory has subscriptions to an endless amount of databases. You can find everything from copies of Shakespeare’s original quartos (leave it to an English nerd to find that one out…), to definition articles on PubMed, a collection of biomedical literature.  The databases are a great place to find articles that you can download and save right to your desktop.  As long as you are an Emory student, you can access these databases from anywhere in the world. Who said completing work over Spring Break was impossible? Now you don’t really have an excuse…sorry!

…So, now what?

What do I do now that I’ve scoped out every inch of the library, you ask? Well, there really is so much more you can do! You can check out a new movie or CD from the 4th floor.  Or you can search for the secret library study breaks listed on the library’s own blog. Have a chat with House at the security desk; now that we’re friends, gone are the days of searching for my Emory card at the bottom of my bag!
Did you know that on the 10th floor of the stacks there’s a patio that extends around the entire floor? It’s a great place to have a picnic lunch, catch some rays, or just take in the beautiful Atlanta skyline. After lunch, you can check out Alice Walker’s papers or a number of rare books in MARBL (Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Books Library).
If you’ve spent too much time studying and don’t have time to run home, you can even stop by the 3rd floor to get clean – the shower even has its own Yelp! rating.  And, of course, if you want to spice things up, you could always take your guy up to the stacks and give that a try! Whatever you choose to do at the library, whether it’s studious, social or sexual, always use discretion in your library endeavors. Just don’t be too loud, or you just might get caught!

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