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Concordia's libraries are a great resource

Abundance of services offered to students, including research support, online chat service and Open Access repository
August 14, 2012
By Lesley De Marinis

Concordia University’s libraries are the go-to study space for many students during the school term. But both the Webster Library (Sir George Williams Campus) and the Vanier Library (Loyola Campus) offer much more than just a place for students to study for exams.

“Students can come to the library to borrow material for their research and they can come locate and borrow course reserve material,” explains Associate University Librarian David Thirlwall. “They can study alone or in a group setting or they can find resources for photocopying and printing. They can also use the computers to access our electronic collections, databases, e-books and so forth.”

There are more than 30 librarians on staff at Concordia and students can now take out iPads. | Photo by Concordia University
There are more than 30 librarians on staff at Concordia and the Libraries have iPads available for loan, free of charge. | Photo by Concordia University

There are more than 30 university librarians on staff who can also provide research and citation support. University librarians are highly involved in the GradProSkills program, by both designing and delivering workshops specifically for graduate students.

“Librarians can help students not only in the process of conducting research, whether in the short term for an assignment or in the long term for a thesis, but can help them to evaluate the material they are finding and to reference it a responsible manner to avoid plagiarism,” Thirlwall explains. “In that regard, librarians also help students make use of a RefWorks, an automative citation management software.”

If students are looking for assistance with research in a specific area, such as fine arts or engineering, they can make an appointment with a university librarian who specializes in that field. Students can also access the popular Ask a Librarian chat service on the Concordia Libraries website — either from home or the library.

Ask a Librarian is another at-home service available through the Concordia Libraries website.

“Students can log in and make use of electronic resources from home,” says Thirlwall. “We have our inter-library loan service, and using that service, free of charge, students can have a book that is not available at Concordia brought from a library elsewhere in Quebec or elsewhere in the world.

“We also have an article delivery service,” he continues. “Using that service, students can request an electronic version of any article in a journal that we have in our possession, so rather than come in and look through a journal they can request the article be sent via email through them, and that’s a free service.”

Concordia Libraries also launched a mobile website this past year, which students can access using a smartphone.

Concordia University was the first Canadian university to join the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) after approving an Open Access policy in the spring of 2010. The policy encourages Concordia researchers to make their findings freely available online using a research repository known as Spectrum.

“The Open Access movement is one that seeks to make all university research freely available online everywhere," explains Thirlwall. “Spectrum is a repository to hold that Open Access research. What students may be interested in knowing, besides that it’s a very sustainable approach to university research, is that all university theses produced here at Concordia are automatically deposited in Spectrum, so that students are doing their bit to forward the principles of Open Access.”

Some more information about Concordia Libraries:

  • Concordia Libraries are home to 1,000 electronic databases, 170,000 electronic books, 1.5 million printed books and 16,000 available course reserves, including textbooks and course packs.
  • For the past two years, Concordia Libraries have offered 24/7 access throughout the term. While a university librarian is not on duty during night hours, students may still make use of the facilities and use a self-serve kiosk to borrow books.
  • Students can borrow laptops for use in the library (there are 210 laptops), and Concordia Libraries have iPads available for loan, free of charge.
  • Students can obtain a card from Conférence des recteurs et principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ) at both of Concordia's Libraries, which allows students to borrow books from university libraries across Canada.
  • Concordia Libraries receive about two million visits a year.

Related links:
•    Concordia University Libraries
•    Libraries mobile site
•    Spectrum Research Repository
•    Open Access
•    "Research for the masses" — NOW, October 18, 2011 


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