RLCL 1004 2016: Welcome to VT University Libraries

Aren't all libraries the same?

In short: no.  Academic libraries are specifically created to support a university or college.  This table, created by librarians at Kent State University and Bowling Green, gives a quick overview of some of the differences.  BGSU and KSU also created this handout, listing the top 10 things it's important to know about undergraduate research.

Some of the main things that are unique to academic libraries are:

  1. Size - academic libraries can be huge.  Newman Library has five floors that are open to the public and a sixth just for offices.
  2. Call numbers - academic libraries use the Library of Congress Call Number system, aka LC, rather than Dewey.  Literature (fiction, poetry and drama) will not be shelved alphabetically by the author's last name.
  3. Holdings -  academic libraries do carry some popular materials, but their main focus is on helping students and faculty with research.  The majority of an academic library's "stuff" will be academically oriented.
  4. Online materials - academic libraries spend millions of dollars every year for subscriptions to databases containing everything from videos to newspaper articles to peer-reviewed materials.  The libraries pay for the subscriptions so you, the user, don't have to pay for individual articles. 

VT University Libraries

Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus actually has three libraries on it.  Newman is the main library.  It holds the vast majority of our physical collection.

The other two libraries are the Art and Architecture Library in Cowgill Hall (top), and the Vet Med Library in the Veterinary Medicine Building (bottom).

University Libraries' Home Page

Just like coming in the doors of Newman Library gives you access to all the materials and services located in the library, coming to the library home page will give you access to all of our digital resources and services.

  1. The grey bar has several dropdowns and links:  Ask a Librarian links to research help;  How Do I... links to FAQ, including how to print; Forms includes My Library Account, an overview what you have checked out, fines, etc.
  2. The main search area has tabs for Summon (the libraries' Google), Addison (hard copy catalog), Databases (find a database by name) and Course Reserves (high-use items you get from circulation, that are leant for short time periods).
  3. The little search box lets you search the entire library website or Summon, look at our A to Z index, and find library staff.
  4. Library Quick Links let you search different content types, see loan periods, find citation guides, see library hours and link to Subject Guides with databases for virtually all subject taught on campus.

Liaison Librarian

Jennifer Nardine's picture
Jennifer Nardine
Newman Library, Room 3007
Subjects: Foreign Languages & Literature, Performing Arts, Religion & Culture
Website / Blog Page

Getting Help

You can visit the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor of Newman Library to get research help.  During the semester we're available:

Sun: 12:00 noon - 12:00 midnight
Mon- Thu: 9:00am - 12:00 midnight
Fri: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sat: 9:00am - 6:00pm

*In summer and during vacations, our hours vary, so check our calendar before coming over.

You can get help via instant messaging, by clicking the "Ask A Librarian" tab on the right edge of any of the libraries' webpages.

You can also text us. Send the message to (540) 986-4614. Messages sent during hours when the reference desks are staff will be answered quickly; other messages will be answered when we reopen.

If you're on the libraries' home page, click the text "Ask a Librarian" in the menu bar near the top left of the page to see a list of ways to get help.  There should be someone available to talk with you any time the reference desk is open.  (From this page, you can also click the link to the right.)

You can get writing help at the Writing Center, on the 2nd floor of Newman Library.  They offer assistance with issues of proofreading and editing, brainstorming, organization, development, writing from research, and much more at any stage of the writing process.

And the Comm Lab, also on Newman's 2nd floor, can help you prepare and practice presentations.

You can also get help online.  One good spot for coaching on academic research is this webpage.