1. Can I borrow a laptop or an iPad from the library?

The Main Library has laptops and iPads available to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. Laptops are also available for loan from the Art, Conservatory and Science libraries.
More info on loan periods.

2. Can I borrow headphones or other audio/visual equipment?

Yes! Audio Visual Services (located on the 4th floor of the Main Library) has lots of equipment available, such as digital cameras, sound systems and more.  Headphones are also available to check out at the Science and Conservatory Libraries.

3. Can I browse the DVDs?

For security reasons videos in the Main Library are kept at the Circulation Desk. Each library branch has DVDs, and they may be in a browsable area. You can use OBIS to search only videos by language or keyword. Ask at the Research Desk if you'd like help searching for films.

4. Can I read articles on the New York Times web site through Oberlin’s account?

Go to nytimes.com/grouppass from a computer connected directly to the campus network and register using your oberlin.edu email address. Once registered you’ll be able to access nytimes.com from any computer/tablet/device you use. Although the page says “24 Hours of access,” access is for a full year. You’ll need to re-register yearly, as long as you’re a student, faculty, or staff member at Oberlin College.

5. Can I request that the library purchase an item?

Sure! We are happy to receive purchase suggestions, and will do our best to acquire them. Students, staff and others may use this form; Oberlin faculty should use this form or contact the liaison librarian for your department.

6. Can I reserve a group study room?

Group study rooms in the Main Library and Science Library can be reserved in advance. Reservations must be made using the online form at least one day in advance, and when not reserved they are available on a first-come first-served basis. See group study room descriptions and locations.

7. Can I watch a video in the libraries?

There are many options for viewing videos in the libraries that accommodate various video formats and individual or small group viewings. For open film screenings, please understand copyright implications. Details on facilities in each campus library

8. Can my organization do tabling in Mudd or hold an event in Mudd?

For tabling requests, please fill out this form. Detailed information about how to make arrangements to have events in Mudd is available.

9. Does the library have textbooks for my class?

The library might have the current text-book in the stacks or on reserve for your class; search OBIS.  The Science Library tries to purchase one copy of the required text-book(s) for every science class that is required of majors, but it is considered a convenient reference copy and should not be depended upon for regular assigned reading. Required text-books owned by the science library cannot be taken out for overnight use. It may sometimes be possible to borrow textbooks through OhioLINK.

10. How can I apply for jobs in the libraries?

All student jobs in the libraries are posted on the Campus Classifieds. There is also a jobs board near the Circulation Desk in Mudd where most jobs are posted.  Link to application form

11. How can I get help with research?

Check out our Ask A Librarian page to find out all the ways you can get in touch with librarians in all of our campus libraries -- drop in, call, email or schedule a research appointment.

12. How can I get technology help?

The CIT (Center for Information Technology) offers several ways to get technology help. .

13. How can I print single-sided? The printers default to double sided printing.

On PCs : In the print dialog box, select “Printer Properties, choose the “Layout” tab, and under Print Type, select 1-sided.  On Macs: In the print dialog box, select “Finishing” in the “Copies & Pages” pulldown menu, then uncheck the duplex box. Once you set to single-sided, send your document to the printer.

14. How do I access library resources off campus?

From the library home page, click on Off-Campus Users. You will see options for using either VPN (Virtual Private Network) or proxy server authentication. Either way, you will be authenticated as an Obie and shouldn’t be prompted to log in to resources.

15. How do I cite sources correctly?

Our Citation Help page lists several online resources that you can use to find out how to cite books, journal articles, web pages and other sources correctly, no matter what citation style you are using. Ask A Librarian if you need additional help with citing sources.

16. How do I find an article? What databases does the library have?

Try searching Summon, which provides access to the resources in many of our databases. To choose subject-specific databases click the Databases tab in the search box on the Library web page to view the hundreds of library databases alphabetically or by subject. For help deciding on the right search tools, consult a librarian.

17. How do I get my own study carrel, locker, or scholar study?

Study carrels: Main, Art, and Science Library carrels may be reserved on a semester-basis by any Oberlin College student. Carrels in the Conservatory Library are not assigned.
Lockers: Available in the Main Library. Lockers on A-Level and 2nd and 3rd floors may be reserved on a semester-basis by any member of the Oberlin College community. Sign up with Bill Ruth, Mudd 118, Administrative Office ($20 refundable key deposit required). 4th floor lockers are for day-use only by visitors to Archives and Special Collections.
Scholar studies: Small offices along the front of Mudd on floors 2-4 may be reserved by honors students for one semester. Scholar studies are limited in number and in high demand.

18. How do I get something the library doesn’t have?

You can borrow books and other physical materials through OhioLINK (statewide consortium of 90+ academic libraries) or SearchOhio (consortium of Ohio public libraries). If the item you want is not available in OhioLINK or if you need an article from a journal (OhioLINK libraries do not lend periodicals), use the interlibrary loan service, ILLiad, to make a request.

19. How do I get started researching a topic?

We recommend:
  • Summon; searches most of what you would have access to through the library, including books and articles in all disciplines
  • Subject Guides; created by our librarians and list the best resources and top databases in a subject area
  • Consult a librarian; plan a research strategy

20. How do I know if an article is peer-reviewed?

Ulrichsweb (also accessible through databases tab on the library web site) indicates if a journal uses a peer-review process.  This is typically limited only to articles reporting new research findings that are written by the individuals who conducted the research (rather than a review article, which may only summarize research findings reported in dozens of other sources).  Letters, commentaries, news reports, obituaries, book reviews are generally not peer-reviewed, even if the journal uses a peer-review process for the primary research articles.

21. How do I manage a large research project?

Talk to a librarian to get advice on managing research projects and using citation management tools. Citation management tools help researchers gather, manage, store and share information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies in a wide variety of styles; the library provides access to RefWorks and Flow.

22. How do I print/copy/scan in the library?

Black and white printing is available in every campus library and color printing is available in the Main Library and Art Library. There are photocopiers in every library that can also scan documents to create PDFs. Additional scanning functionality is available in the Multimedia area and the Scannx machine in the Main Library. The Science Library also has an oversize Epson scanner with advanced software on the Mac dedicated to its use. More information about printing, copying & scanning

23. How long can I check something out for?

It depends on your affiliation with Oberlin, what type of material you are borrowing, and which library or borrowing service (i.e. OhioLINK, ILL) you are using. See: student borrowing, faculty/staff borrowing, visitors borrowing.

24. What is a research appointment? How do I schedule one?

Research appointments are one-on-one consultations with a librarian that will help you become a better researcher. We can work with you to map out a research strategy, search databases effectively and find and evaluate sources. Use the Appointment Request form to schedule appointments with a librarian in any campus library.

25. What is course reserve and how does it work?

Course reserve items are required or recommended readings or films for a class. Look up reserve items in OBIS and ask for them by call number at the circulation desk of the campus library where the materials are located. Reserve materials have short loan periods to insure that all students have access. Electronic reserves are available on Blackboard course sites.

26. What is microfilm? How do I use it, and where are the machines?

Microfilm is film that contains tiny photographic reproduction of documents that can be viewed using a microfilm reader machine. The Main Library has machines in the Academic Commons that can read and print, and one of them can create PDFs to save to a flash drive; read-only machines are available on the 2nd floor. Instructions are posted and for more help stop by the Research Desk.

27. What is OBIS? What is Summon?

OBIS is the library catalog.  Search it to discover ~2.5 million holdings within the library system -- books, DVDs, CDs, journal titles, scores and more.  Summon is a search engine that can search across the full spectrum of library content from a single search box.  It draws from OBIS, many of our databases, as well as digital repositories from colleges, universities, research centers, and other open-access archives on the web.

28. What is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is a service located in Mudd where students can drop-in to consult with highly trained peer writing associates during all stages of the writing process, from topic selection through final editing. See Writing Center web page for more info on services and hours.

29. What technology and software are available in the libraries?

Each campus library has lab computers maintained by the CIT.  List of software programs available on lab computers.

30. What’s in our archives and special collections, and how are they different?

Oberlin College Archives is the department that preserves documentation of the history of the college and its people. Special Collections collects and preserves materials that are unique, rare or fragile. There are also Special Collections in the Art and Conservatory Libraries. Main Library Special Collections and Archives are located on the 4th floor of Mudd.

31. Where are the branch libraries?

Take a look at this lovely campus map with all of the libraries shown in green.

32. Where is East Asian Collection in Mudd?

The East Asian literature collection is housed in the East Asian Reading Room on the 3rd floor of Mudd overlooking the cushion pit on the 2nd floor. The rest of Chinese, Japanese and Korean language materials are shelved with the main collection.

33. Where is the Art Library?

The Art Library is on the top floor of the building immediately adjacent to the Allen Memorial Art Museum, with the checkerboard facade; take the stairs near the entrance to the building.

34. Why is it so hot/cold in here?

Heating and cooling of library facilities is managed centrally on campus. If it's uncomfortably hot or cold, let us know and we will ask B&G to make adjustments if possible.
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