The school library (or, if you’re at a big school, libraries) are part of almost every college tour. Of course, in the age of digital information, the actual books contained in the library are no longer students’ most important resource at the library–instead, the librarians are.
Though often overlooked and under appreciated, librarians can make a student’s life much easier if they’re asked. Though your school may not have a program as intensive as Drexel’s personal librarian program, where freshmen get their own librarian to show them the research ropes, even the most unassuming librarian has training to help you find out what you need to know. If you’re looking for places to start, try these suggestions:
Instant Message a Librarian – Many universities have their librarians set up on Meebo, a site-nested instant messaging client that became unexpectedly very popular with the librarian community. If your university has a Meebo setup, you can anonymously ask librarians a silly or embarrassing question (where is the science building?), renew a book without going to the library, or ask them to help you when a professor has screwed up putting a book you need on reserve. A smaller number of schools even have a “text a librarian” feature for when you’re away from a browser. If your school doesn’t have either of these services set up, the Alexandrian Public Library, Texas State University Library, and Emory University Library all offer chat widgets that you can use for non-school-specific questions.