Monday, February 8, 2010

Questions for the Librarian

The following are taken from student blogs where students posted questions for the librarian.  I will try to answer these after today's session.

1.      How do you check out books from the library? Do you use your Rutgers ID card or do we have to get a separate library card? (I have never needed to check out a book so far so I honestly do not know how the system works.)
You do need a Rutgers ID card to use the library.  And you need to register that card with the library so it can function as your library card.  You can do this online (see "Registering with the Rutgers Libraries") or at any RU library circulation desk.

2.      What is the return policy on books? Can we keep them out for the whole semester to work on this paper or do we have to keep renewing the books if we want to keep them for the entire semester?
You can learn everything you need to know on the "Borrowing Privileges" page.   Undergraduates can borrow materials for 28 days and can then renew them (online using My Account), so long as the materials have not been recalled.  You generally only have to pay fines if materials are recalled and not returned on time.

3.      How many people go to the library each day? Do you ever think they go there for a "social" aspect? How many people check books out each day?
The American Library Association has a good fact sheet on "Public Library Use."  It lists a survey of library use conducted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which indicates that the main reason people go to the library is to check out materials, typically for children.  But library use varies considerably by State and location.  The most interesting (and common sense) finding was that library use mapped closely onto proximity to the library: if you live near a library you are more likely to use it.   The statistics are from 2002, but more recent surveys suggest that, in this recent economic downturn, a lot of unemployed people are using public libraries to help them find a job and to improve their skills.

4.      What is the maximum number of books one can check out?
I could not find information regarding any limits for undergraduates.  I do not think there are limits, and if there are I am sure you would not exceed them.  My own recommendation is that you try to keep checkouts to a minimum to make it easier to keep track of books and to return books on time without accruing fines.

5.      I have never been to the library here other than to just print things out from the computers so I am not sure of all that the library has to offer. How would I go about checking out a book? Is there a standard fee I need to pay or do I just use my Rutgers ID card? How long can I have a book out for? How would I search to find the specific books, articles, etc. that I need to further my research?
The best way to learn more about the libraries is to use them.  As a student, you have already paid through student fees and tuition for the right to use the library, so usage is basically free to students.  Once you graduate, you can continue to use the library as alumni.   Other questions are answered elsewhere in this list.

6.      What kinds of help can we get from the librarians in researching our topics?
The easiest way to get assistance is online at the main page where you will see an IM window open whenever reference librarians are available to assist you.  You can see other options under "Ask a Librarian."  The librarians are there to help.  If you are in the library and need help, simply stop by the Reference desk and request assistance.  Reference librarians can sometimes be in demand, so timing is everything.  But all of them enjoy helping students find resources and no question is "too dumb" for them.  Our reference librarian, Peggy, has agreed to help you individually if you are willing to visit her at Kilmer Library on Livingston campus and to write her ahead of time with specific questions she can help you with.

Searching for and Physically Locating Materials
7.      How do we look up and find books throughout the library system?
Use the IRIS system to find books at any Rutgers Library.  If the book is not at the library closest to you, you can always use "Book Delivery / Recall" to have it delivered to the library of your choice.

8.      How do you order books from other libraries if they are not at Douglass?

9.      How do you find full articles either from a magazine, book, or encyclopedia and not just excerpts or abstracts?

10.     Can I have articles delivered to me?  What are the rules for that? Is there a fee?

11.     Can I request and take out other media, such as videos?  How do I find and access them?

12.     Do you know of any books that deal with the topic of sports and schools? Is there a section that would have a lot of these types of books?

Topics and Selection
13.     How exactly do you narrow down your searches for articles to find just what you need?

14.     Where could I find any information on academics vs. college life? Do you know of any articles or anything that argues how academics play a much larger role than does college/student life in terms of what people wind up doing with the rest of their lives?

15.     How do I know which articles would be best?

16.     How do I find out if an article is scholarly (peer reviewed or fact based) or not scholarly (opinion, subjective or invalid information)?

Finding Specific Historical Facts and Local Statistics
17.     What is the best way to find specific statistics. For example, "How successful are students transferring to Rutgers?"

18.     Is there a statistic that could show the average G.P.A's of college students on scholarship and who are not on scholarship?

19.     Is there anyway I can find records of college tuition prices and how they have increased in the past few years?

20.     Is there any way I could find out how much college cost way back in the beginning of higher education?

21.     Where could I find information and statistics on the cost of higher education?

22.     Where can I find stats linked to how much a school earns from sporting events held at that school? Also is there any way to find out how many contributions to a school are related to their athletics programs?

23.     Where can I find stats related to the number of student athletes who receive athletic scholarships each year? And which schools give the most scholarships?

Primary Research and Special Collections
24.     Is there a specific section in the library about Rutgers history (specifically sports)? I want to find some information about the history of sports at Rutgers and was wondering if information would be available on that.

25.     Where would I be able to find accounts of different student protests from the past 40 years?  What would be a good way to go about finding information on this research topic? Where would I be able to find the most information?  What if no one has written a book or article on the history of Rutgers student protests?  What do I do? Where could I find different accounts of student activism, aside from protests, in state schools from the past 40 years?

MLA Citation
26.     How do you cite a quote from an audio video like YouTube?

27.     How do you write a citation (for the works cited) for a primary resource, like an interview?


  1. For convenience, here were some sites offered by Peggy Wong in response to student questions:

    Sources for Historical Facts and Statistical Data on Rutgers / NJ Colleges
    For statistical data on colleges and universities in New Jersey:

    State of New Jersey Commission on Higher Education

    Frequently Requested Statistical Tables (for New Jersey Public Schools)

    National Center Education Statistics (NCES) -- see tables & figures

    NCES -- for facts on colleges/universities and libraries

    College Board – Trends in Higher Education

    Use “Search Rutgers Website” to search for information about Rutgers University

    The Office of Institutional Research and Academic Planning
    The Office of Institutional Research and Academic Planning (OIRAP) gathers, analyzes, and uses data to inform institutional planning, policy development and decision-making. Contact the OIRAP for Rutgers related data and statistics at:

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    Geology Hall, College Avenue Campus
    85 Somerset Street
    New Brunswick, NJ 08901
    Telephone: 732-932-7305

    Institutional Characteristics for Rutgers University
    The 2009-2010 Rutgers Fact Book (and past historical years) provides a ready and comprehensive source of information about Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. It contains historical and current data about students, faculty, finances, facilities, and instruction. A number of data tables comparing Rutgers with other public AAU institutions on various dimensions are also available.

    Enrollment Statistics by Campus, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity at Rutgers University

    U.S. Census Bureau -- The 2010 Statistical Abstract
    Education: Higher Education: Institutions and Enrollment

  2. ** For information related to History of Rutgers Athletics/Sports & Student Protests

    Rutgers University Archives
    The University Archives (9,000 cubic feet) serves as the final repository for the historical records of Rutgers University. Its primary purpose is to document the history of the University and to provide source material for administrative use and for researchers who seek to evaluate the University's impact on the history of American social, cultural, and intellectual development. Included are records of administrative and academic units, student organizations, theses and dissertations, photographs, memorabilia, and personal papers of faculty, students, and alumni.

    Special Collections and University Archives – Alexander Library
    169 College Avenue -- New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1163
    Telephone: (732) 932-7006

    Rutgers University History

    Rutgers Scarlet Knights History (home page)

    Click on the link for History/Tradition in the menu bar

    Search Rutgers Websites: use “student protest or activism” as keywords

    Daily Targum (article):

    America: History and Life -- for accounts of historical student protests,
    try an advanced search for ‘student activis* or protest* and Rutgers’
    At Rutgers Libraries’ Homepage, click on Find Articles >> Indexes and Articles >>
    Select Database by Title >> Click on “A” for America: History and Life

    **For Statistics about New Jersey Public Libraries:

    NCES – Library Statistics Programs

    New Jersey State Library: Statistics for NJ Public Libraries

    **Education Websites, Directories, and Search Engines

    The Chronicle of Higher Education—Facts & Figures

    Complete Planet – search the Invisible Web (see Education)
    Digital Librarian (see Education/Colleges & Universities)

    Infomine (Scholarly Internet Resource Collection)

    Intute (see Education and Research Methods)

    Ipl2: Internet Public Library/Librarians Internet Index (see Education)
    Open Directory Project -- (see Reference/Education) (search for keywords in education sites)

    **Citation Formatting and Management Tools

    RefWorks (@ Rutgers Libraries) – try Write-n-Cite & Ref Grab-It

    Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) -- MLA Formatting and Style Guide

    Purdue OWL -- MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources (to cite Interviews)

    Trinity College CiteSource – MLA Style (to cite YouTube Videos and Interview)