The Library in the Heart of Your Community That You Might Be Underutilizing

Did you know that some college libraries don't require you to be a student to take advantage of their resources?

Have you ever considered checking out your local campus library?

Though you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has never heard of libraries in general, most people don’t realize that there’s more than one type of library and that each type serves a unique and specialized purpose. This means that although libraries aside from the standard public library exist, not nearly enough people utilize them, leaving their potential benefits completely untapped. One type of library that suffers the most from this is academic libraries.

What Is an Academic Library?

Academic libraries are found at educational institutions. As institutions of higher education, it’s important for universities to have a solid body of information for their students to draw from when doing research or studying. While the public library provides a similar body of information, sometimes students need something a bit more specialized than the typical library would offer.


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What Are Academic Libraries For?

Academic libraries provide these more niche informational resources and tend to have a broader range of textbooks, scientific journals, and other pieces of scholarly literature. If you’re interested in learning more about a certain topic at a level of depth beyond the norm, there’s a fair chance that you’ll eventually hit a wall when looking for resources at the public library. 

Because public libraries receive grants and decide which books to use those grants on based on the demand of their patrons, books on more niche topics don’t usually appear on their shelves. Most academic libraries, however, are owned by the university campus on which they reside, meaning that they accrue their own funding and can allocate that funding as they see fit. As a result, they carry some extremely niche pieces from the greatest minds of countless unique fields. While these pieces wouldn’t be as useful to the average person, to someone who takes a unique interest in the topic or is studying it for their major, they’re an indispensable resource.

Like standard public libraries, academic libraries also serve as meeting spots, though in a somewhat different capacity. Rather than serving as meeting places for the wider community, they’re more of a place for academics to meet and have discussions. Of course, there’s still a very strong sense of community; it just takes a different, more focused form. You’re more likely to meet like-minded people who share similar interests and view the world in a similar way. Needless to say, those are the makings of a great study group and potentially lifelong friends and colleagues.


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Public Access to Campus Libraries

That brings us to a question: If you’re not a student at a university, can you still visit the academic library on campus? Surprisingly enough, yes, in most cases! Rules and restrictions vary on an individual basis, but generally, all you need to do is check in and get a visitor pass. Then you’ll be able to look around the library freely, just like a student would. 

This doesn’t just apply to lesser-known academic libraries; the University of Chicago allows access with a visitor pass, and Yale allows nonstudents to access their library freely, given that they’re a researcher. It’s not nearly as difficult to access an academic library as one would think, and the resources they can provide are priceless, so don’t be afraid to take a look at your local college campus’ library!


If you’re looking to learn more about the different types of libraries and the resources they provide, feel free to visit us at EveryLibrary today!



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