An inside look at the U of A Library

As an perpetual inhabitant of Rutherford Library South, 2nd year student Kathryn guides you through what our Library has to offer as you prepare for the busy final exam season.

An inside look at the U of A Library

With finals season among us and assignments quickly stacking up, it’s time to move past the acquaintance stage with our Library. The Library environment already provides subconscious peer pressure to be productive.  That can be remedy enough for procrastination, but why stop there? As fun as it may be to pretend to be productive in Rutherford Library South (speaking for a friend), the Library has much to offer that you have likely only scratched the surface of—let’s change that.

Know your study spaces to use your study spaces

Study rooms: it’s in the name. Available to book in the Cameron, Rutherford, Scott, Bibliothèque Saint-Jean, Augustana, and Law libraries, study spaces provide the optimal environment to catch up on coursework and group work. That said, you do not need to book a space to study in any of the common Library areas. If you’re in need of a silent study space, consider the fifth floor of Rutherford North; there is a silent study space on the third floor of Rutherford North as well. The middle floor of Scott library or the third and fourth floors of Cameron Library are other great spots for silent study.

I personally can’t trust myself not to disrupt the stillness of a silent study space, and as such, I am more inclined to a quiet study space, my favourite being Rutherford South reading room—a totally clichéed arts student move, but for good reason. 

For the study night owls among us, Cameron Library basement is available as a 24-hour study space open 7 days a week with access available with your ONEcard. The Library has up to date hours for all locations on their website. Though it can be easy to stay within your familiar spots on campus, a change of scenery is an easy way to bring a little excitement to your day during an overwhelming time.

One-on-One Help

Is that peer-reviewed academic source actually peer-reviewed and academic? What is grey information? Have I been using Chicago-style citations instead of MLA style this entire time? The answer to all these questions (and many more) can be found with help of the U of A Library. Available to book on the U of A Library website are appointments with librarians who are equipped to help you with whatever subject area you study. Asking for help as a student is not a sign of weakness; a ten-minute meeting spent clarifying any questions you have (even the ones you may deem too “stupid”) can spare you weeks of worry. Reaching out to a subject librarian  is a sure way to alleviate anxiety about subject-specific concerns. This time of the year can be the academic equivalent of the ‘Sunday Scaries’; so book an appointment to finish your final assignments with confidence. Not sure if you want to book an appointment for a shorter question? You can also reach out and speak to Library staff directly using chat

Technology and Other Services 

If you're a student who works best with a physical copy of readings and course materials, or have other copying and scanning needs, ONEcard printing stations are available in ECHA, FAB, every library, Tory, ETLC and other various locations across campus. Computer workstations and computer labs are available across campus as well. 

For weeks, I got to the second floor of Rutherford Library North and thought I saw a random treadmill across the hall. Turns out I was particularly correct; it’s a treadmill desk that helps you to get your steps in while you work—talk about double-tasking. Another library fun-find I’ve recently noticed is standing desks. If you’re anything like me, hours of studying will have passed before you realize how long you’ve been stationary. Both treadmill and standing desks, also available in the Cameron, Scott, and Augustana Libraries, are sure solutions to this. Height adjustable desks are also available on the second floor of Rutherford North and Bibliothèque Saint-Jean. As well, there are height adjustable computer workstations on the main floor of Rutherford North and Bibliothèque Saint-Jean.

As we head into the final weeks of the Fall Semester, now is the perfect time to broaden your library horizons, change up your on-campus study routine, and explore all that our Library has to offer—you’ll be glad that you did.


About Kathryn

Kathryn is in her second year of majoring in Political Science in the Faculty of Arts. Born and raised in St. Albert, Kathryn is an avid reader who always has a New Yorker magazine in her bag. Kathryn is passionate about her studies and all things gender and politics.