Library Tips & Tricks: Part 2

I’m going to make an educated guess here and say that the day you’re going to the library is a Monday, for example, and your test or assignment is due on Tuesday. Maybe it’s due Wednesday and you’re really ahead of the game. In any event, you aren’t going to the library just to sit down and write a one page, double-spaced response to a ten page reading from your Criminal Justice 110 class. You are at the library because you have one or two giant things to work on or a multitude of small projects you need to get going on. This means: set up shop. Bring a flag to strike down into the ground because the table space you are sitting at is yours for the next two hours at least. Do not pack light. You might want to consider bringing an extra tote bag or smaller backpack if you have one. A suitcase is easier to drag around campus and holds more space but I might advise against bringing a suitcase into the library —people might be concerned. Anyway here are the essentials:

Laptop, phone

Chargers. Extra chargers if you had them. Bring every outlet cube you have because someone will probably ask you if you have one and making friends in the library is never a bad idea.

Pens, pencils, a variety of colored highlighters and/or pens. Sometimes you’ve got to spruce up your notes, or finally start reading and highlighting your textbook or take sneaky pencil notes in library books before erasing them diligently. Post-It notes are not necessary but recommended.

Zotero -- this isn’t a funny suggestion but I’m taking a break from my cheeky article to save a life. Zotero is a free, credible, downloadable program that cites anything you’ve ever even read the title for and can cite it in APA, MLA, Chicago, and about 25 other citations styles I wasn’t aware existed. It is so easy to use, you can install a button on your internet page of choice (I’m a Firefox or Google Chrome believer. Ride or die.) and in most cases you click it and it automatically creates a perfect citation for you. Did you read that? It automatically collects all the info and creates a perfect citation. It also connects to Microsoft Word so when you’re writing, all you literally have to do is click “Add Citation” and then type what article/report you need cited, press enter and it shows up, perfectly cited, right there in your paper. It just automatically shows up. With parentheses or footnotes included. You can also click “Create Bibliography” and it takes all the citations you used in your paper and puts it in a perfectly formatted, alphabetical bibliography. Please, please get this.

Anyway…… also bring hydration. I never bring less than four different beverages with me to the library. One of them is a reusable water bottle (to offset the next three or more plastic or glass bottles I use) and the other is always a coffee. The remaining two are usually Gatorade or some type of iced tea -- whichever has a tag that says “2 for $3!” at Walgreens or Wawa, which makes me think I’m getting a great deal while only saving 47 cents. You won’t regret bringing more liquids than you need. It also allows you to get up about every hour or so to go to the bathroom which gives you a nice chance to stretch and walk around.

Sweatshirt or jacket. Usually it is boiling lava hot in the lib. However on the second floor right as you walk up the stairs, the open concept design of the tables makes it absolutely freezing. Not only that, but most times you can’t snag a nice padded, rolling chair and must settle for a wooden chair built by Ron Swanson (made with loving craftsmanship but not thinking anyone was going to sit in it for more than 5 minutes). You can use your sweatshirt as padding.