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Awesome on-campus college library resources

Beyond the bookshelf, here is a list of resources available at college libraries including rentals, homework help and other tools.

Confession: I only checked out one book from my college library while living on campus.

For new readers, the reason I only borrowed a single book in four years is because I have a print disability, which makes it impossible to read physical copies of books, magazines, newspapers, etc. There are so many resources offered by college libraries that go beyond what is on the shelves and even the digital library resources that I would devour, including equipment rentals, computer labs, research help, and so much more. Here are several awesome on-campus library resources that can be accessed in-person, with some options for remote access.

Technology and equipment rental

Many college libraries offer technology and equipment rental services for students working on projects or that need to test software on different operating systems. I frequently checked out MacBooks for one of my design classes, as well as a portable FM system for sound amplification.

Other items that can be rented from the college library can include:

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Access technology/assistive technology lab

For students with print disabilities or that have trouble reading standard print, assistive technology labs (sometimes called access technology labs) provide several options for information access. Some assistive technology labs are in a private space and require students to swipe an ID card, while other areas are more open so anyone can use the technology.

Examples of items in an assistive technology lab include:

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Recording studio for videos

For students that need to record a short video, I recommend visiting my college library’s one button video recording studio, which allows students to insert a USB flash drive, press a button to start recording, and then press the button again to stop and save the recording to the flash drive. There’s no screens to look at, making this an awesome resource for blind students and nonvisual access.

Booking a study space

Need to work on a group project? For a few of my class group projects, group members booked a study space at the library that featured multiple outlets for computers, a large screen for screen sharing/projecting content, and a dry-erase board for making notes. My favorite amenity for group study spaces is the large screen for projecting content, as it made it a lot easier for group members to collaborate instead of huddling around someone’s computer.

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Quiet testing space for quizzes and exams

Many college libraries have a testing center where students can take quizzes, exams, and work on other assignments for virtual/hybrid classes in a quiet space. I didn’t use this testing center personally because I would go to the Disability Services testing center for proctored exams, but this is an awesome resource for students living in triple-occupancy rooms or in noisy environments.

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Makerspace for creative projects

My college library and the college makerspace are now separate buildings, though I learned a lot about how to use the makerspace from events hosted by the library. Makerspaces can include items such as 3D printers, sewing machines, art materials, woodshop areas, crafting spaces, and so much more.

Some examples of creative projects I made in my college library’s makerspace include:

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Meeting with a librarian

I had to write a paper for one of my classes about the rise of spam phone calls and had trouble finding research sources in the academic database. Meeting with a research librarian helped me to find better sources and relevant information for my paper, and I also felt more confident about turning in my final project. It’s worth noting that librarian meetings can be done in-person or virtual/remote depending on student preference.

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Getting tech support or troubleshooting applications

When I was having an issue with the statistics software for one of my classes, I was able to meet with a librarian who helped me solve the issue and also teach me a few keyboard shortcuts. Many college libraries offer tech support options for using research software or other university tools, and may also be able to help with basic troubleshooting for computers as well.

More college library resources for on-campus students

By Veronica Lewis/Veronica With Four Eyes,

Updated March 2024; last updated September 2023.

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