By Joely Feder
Libraries, especially public libraries, are the great social equalizer. Everyone is welcome at the library, and there are benefits for everyone, young and old, in this space.
Libraries are most known for being places to find resources, like books, magazines, and journals, or being an area of quiet and focus to do work or study. Libraries also have great physical resources, like computers, books (of course!), printers, scanners, and more!
However, libraries are also communities that can serve as meeting spaces for discussion about important topics. Additionally, libraries can also serve as learning spaces to master skills like basic technology, searching for jobs, or doing crafting. Not to mention, libraries offer one of the most valuable assets: librarians.
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Library Resources for Students: Librarians as Your First Resource
First and foremost, the best resource at the library for any age are the librarians! Librarians serve as references for information and as the point-of-contact for finding answers to whatever question you may have.
Wondering where a book is located? Ask a librarian! Need to know how to use the printer, or where to return a book, a librarian can help you figure it all out.
In addition to the general resources that libraries offer, there are also age-specific resources. So, here are some of the best library resources for students, especially young children, teens, and college students.
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Library Resources for Kids
Libraries offer many engaging programs for young children and their parents. Some of them revolve around children’s reading and literacy while others are more focused on other activities like art.
A quintessential program that most public libraries offer is storytime. This is when a librarian, usually a children’s librarian, reads a book aloud.
This is a super fun activity for young children that engages their language and listening skills along with nurturing a sense of imagination. Storytime is a great activity for kids whose parents are looking for non-screen-oriented activities to do.
Music is another fun activity that can engage young children at the library! Not only do kids love music (nursery rhymes and Disney tunes come to mind), but using instruments reinforces skills like hand-eye coordination, and singing flexes language and speech skills.
Music can also be paired with dance, which is a great physical expression for anyone (especially kids) to learn how to deal with emotions and get in touch with their bodies.
Art is another form of expression that can be engaging for kids to take part in. Many public libraries have crafting events for young children to flex their creativity and make art on their own terms. Think coloring, painting, tracing, cutting paper, gluing, and more!
Crafts will also be based on different events going on during the year, like the seasons or holidays. This is a great way to capture the interest of children. And like using instruments for movement, may also help with fine-motor skills and coordination.
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Library Resources for Teens
In addition to the many resources libraries have for young children, there are also tons of programs that can benefit teens and young adults. There are lots of engaging activities at the library for teens, along with resources for help with school. Not only this, but there are also teen librarians who specialize in programming for young adults and young adult literature. Here are some specific resources for teens at the library!
Are you a teen who likes writing? The library can be an excellent resource for your writing projects!
Libraries can hold workshops for the writing process where they bring in teachers or writers to help students with their writing. Libraries can also facilitate editing workshops to help teens strengthen their pieces. They can also provide you with the ability to find specific online communities for teens where you can hone your writing skills alongside your peers.
Homework Help and Tutoring
Some public libraries provide free one-on-one tutoring for teens in topics ranging from math to history and science to English.
If your library doesn’t offer this, don’t fret! They likely offer free online resources for tutoring and homework help. If you’re a teen struggling with schoolwork, the library may be an excellent place to go for not only a quiet atmosphere to do work, but also a place with great resources to help you with that work.
Just like libraries often offer writing workshops, they may also offer teens STEM projects or workshops. With these programs, teens can learn information about different science, technology, engineering, and math concepts.
For instance, teens may learn about computer science, practicing skills like coding, along with more in-depth how-tos about using a computer and accessing the internet. Teens can also learn more about topics like biology, anatomy, astronomy, and more!
Many high schools require students to volunteer a certain amount of hours to graduate.
I know that my school’s requirement was 60 hours, which sounded super daunting at first. So, I contacted my local library and they told me I could volunteer there! I helped shelve books, stamp cards, clean up, and do other tasks to maintain the library.
The library is a great resource for students looking to fulfill a graduation requirement, or simply looking for activities to do outside of school, as volunteering is a great way to pass the time while doing something worthwhile to help the community.
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Library Resources for College Students
College libraries are different from public libraries, but they are just as important! That is because they usually have programs and resources geared towards college, such as help with research, or other assignments. Here are specific resources that are available at most college libraries!
Databases and Research Help
University library websites are usually equipped with links to multiple databases and websites that students can use for research. These are great resources for finding information for projects or essays, along with learning more about specific topics.
These library websites may also have research or class guides that organize databases under different subjects or specific classes. This makes finding content-specific information easy for students because it is organized in a straightforward and direct manner.
Writing and Math Centers
Math and writing help centers are an integral part of many college libraries. These centers are usually made up of students who tutor their peers.
Writing center tutors may help students with writing assignments– like essays–while math center tutors may help their peers with assignments like problem sets or projects.
Oftentimes these are paid positions, so this is an additional resource for college students who have a specialty in one of these subjects and are looking for employment.
Also, math and writing centers are excellent resources for students struggling with coursework in math or English, along with those who may just need a little reinforcement or extra push to really improve their work and form good study habits. These centers are not just for people failing classes. They are for anyone seeking extra support, no matter how much extra support they may need.
Some colleges even have science centers for help with this subject, too.
Ask a Librarian
Another great resource for college students is available right on their college’s library website. This feature, called Ask a Librarian, is a live chat box where students can ask any question and a librarian will answer in real time. This is a useful tool for students with specific questions or issues, ranging from research and databases to physical resources at the library.
Just last week, I used Ask a Librarian to see if my school library has a three-hole punch, and a kind librarian promptly told me that we do in fact have two!
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Conclusion on the Best Library Resources for Students
Overall, libraries, both public and on college campuses, have so many great resources for students. From help with tutoring or research to more creative activities like art and writing, libraries have programming for people of all ages and interests.
Libraries, especially for students, provide a safe space for studying, doing work, and getting all the help needed for school projects, personal endeavors, and more! It is up to you to take advantage of this invaluable resource.
Support your local library today! Check out a book, use a computer, or thank a librarian.