Things I wish I had known…


During your first weeks at University, it feels like everyone is competing to give you advice and information. A few weeks in, and you realise, to your shame, that all that helpful stuff about the Library and how it works has completely gone from your brain…

So, to help you – we have asked our lovely band of Library Associates to tell us what they wish they had known in week 1, term 1, year 1 – (or perhaps what they were told and wished they had remembered) … Here are just a few of the things they said:

1. “You can search for books online and find out where they are in the Library.”

Yes, the Library Search tool on the Library website is quite a lifesaver really, as it tells you exactly what books, journals, theses and other documents we have here at Warwick. If you click on the “Location” link, you can see which floor of the Library your book is on, and the classmark (letters, numbers etc) helps you find it on the shelf.

2. “I wish I had known sooner how easy it is to take out and return books, and that I can renew books online as long as they’ve not been requested by someone else.”

Automated online renewals can definitely be your friend, when you haven’t quite finished (or even started) reading the book, or it is just too cold to get out of bed. But don’t forget that if someone else has placed a hold on the book, you will have to force yourself to get up and return it, to avoid getting fined.

3. “That students can request a hold on up to 10 books.”

One the other hand, you too can request a hold on those infuriating books that are already on loan, so that they are returned and held especially for you. So don’t give up when the book you need is out on loan – and do plan ahead to allow time for the books to be returned and still be of use to you.

4. “Be resilient! I wish I’d known not to give up if I couldn’t find a book the first time I looked. Once I found out that there were trolleys at the end of each floor with books that were ready to be shelved I started to check them too. Also, just trying again to find the book and double checking the reference etc. meant that nine times out of ten I did find the book I needed.”

Don’t be downhearted when you can’t find a book. If you can’t find it, please do ask a member of staff! If the book really isn’t there, don’t forget that browsing the shelves either side of the place where it should have been can throw up some gems on the same topic.

5. “Staplers for documents you print in the library are available on the end of the machine. This might seem like a minor thing, but trust me, when you’re neck deep in assignments and rushing to meet deadlines, the last thing you want to have to worry about is where the bloody staplers are. They’re right there. Don’t worry.”

Good advice. Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference!

6. “You can request books not in the library by filling in an online book suggestion form. This is particularly useful for when you are writing an essay on a niche subject, which may not have many relevant resources currently in the library.

If you come across the perfect book, and we don’t have it, do just let us know. There is a good chance we can get it for you – but do allow some time. Typically books take 3-4 weeks to arrive and make it onto the shelves.

7. “The “store” has nothing to do with purchasing! Don’t be afraid to use the store function on the library website, it just means you can bring a text being held externally into the main library for you to use and borrow!”

Great advice. We will not ask you to pay for access to any books or journals, so fear not, and request away!

8. “I wish I had put in the effort to find out who my library points of contact were sooner, because you’re both so lovely that I would’ve not hesitated to send you an email, and I think that would’ve improved my university experience.”

Oh dear – now the team of Academic Support Librarians are collectively blushing! Seriously, it is great to hear that we can make a difference to your experience of student life. We are always very happy to be contacted with any questions, and always ready with some advice if you are desperately struggling to find something for an assignment or feeling defeated by the MHRA referencing style…

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