add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );The Gavel Guide to Underutilized Library Resources - BANG.
Helen Geckle / Gavel Media

The Gavel Guide to Underutilized Library Resources

On any typical Boston College day, O'Neill Library supplies a safe haven for sleep-deprived students looking to camp out for several hours and study. Aside from its main purpose of lending books, the library primarily provides space: a couple of square feet for taking notes and writing papers. However, when no assignments are due, students find no need to visit the library. This mindset affects many students who are unaware of the numerous resources the library provides outside of studying. With various rentals and enriching services, the library is a versatile location for all student needs.

Offering items from a desk lamp to a Muse Headband and an EEG-powered meditation and sleep system, O'Neill Library provides ample technology for students to borrow for assistance with schoolwork. The Muse headband ranges in benefits from "improving sleep quality by 20%" to reducing stress and improving focus. The library also rents out chargers, calculators, adaptors, and computers to support students in day-to-day class activities. For special products, the library hosts a variety of items such as ring lights, webcams, and microphones. This technology has the potential to help a multitude of students; however, many are unaware of the supplies the library contains. The library will occasionally send an email throughout the semester; however, with the amount of emails being sent to students daily, it is easy for the library's information to be overlooked.

Aside from academic materials, the library also offers resources that can be used for entertainment. Instead of paying for a night out in Boston, the library has all the supplies to have an exhilarating night in. Providing mini projectors and DVD players, students have the ability to host a movie night using library resources. If movies are not appealing, the library also rents out board games, craft boxes, and a VR headset. Offering classics such as Monopoly and Scrabble, the library gives students access to items they might be missing from home. Instead of paying for Uber rides and cover fees, the library makes it possible to have an entertaining night for free. These activities and more are accessible to check out by visiting the circulation desk on the third floor of O'Neill, and rentals can be checked out for up to a week.

The BC library system supplies access to more than just physical resources. With an impressive collection of streaming services free to students, the library provides access to educational materials such as Netflix Documentaries, the PBS Video Collection, Education in Video, and more. Boston College gives students access to Kanopy, a service that contains films from Aftersun to Everywhere Everything All at Once, and a web page of on-demand media to allow on-campus students to watch a variety of movies and shows. Many popular series are featured on this service, such as the Marvel, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games franchises. Many students don't know these resources are available, so they end up paying for movies instead of streaming them for free from the library. 

The library hosts many additional digital resources that go largely unrecognized by students. Digital and Performing Arts Media Librarian Nina Bogdanovsky states that the performing arts streaming collection is greatly underutilized at Boston College. Her favorites on the list are "Medici TV, Met Opera on Demand, Drama Online, and Digital Theatre Plus." Medici TV streams a "collection of classical music from Baroque to Contemporary music," according to Boston College Libraries. Furthermore, BC Libraries states that "acclaimed performances from World-renowned theaters, opera and music companies, along with interviews with leading practitioners" can be found on Digital Theatres Plus. 

The BC library also offers digital resources to students who are writing papers and doing research. Polling the Nations is a "Great tool for finding public opinion data. It's easy to use, graphically easy to digest, and always up to date," according to Leslie Homzie, Library Liaison for Communication, Sociology, and Gender Studies. To locate further educational material, the ProQuest Black Newspaper Collection is "One of the biggest, most easily searched digitized collections of Black newspapers anywhere, and it spans from 1893-2010," states Steve Runge, Library Liaison for English literature and Asian studies. Elizabeth Kuhlman, Boston College's Library Liaison for Engineering, shares the usefulness of Compendex, stating that "While Compendex focuses mostly on Engineering literature, it is also useful for anyone in physics, environmental science, biology, and health sciences. Compendex is a go-to resource for assignments such as research papers, literature reviews, and any project where you need background information or to keep current with what's happening with your topic."

The Boston College librarians are also a great resource for anyone working on a project or paper. Boston College Libraries states that "The libraries provide support for scholarly research and publishing through all phases of the process." For any research paper or assignment, students are able to meet with subject librarians. The subject librarians are a group specialized in various topics that can help with research and educational needs. Boston College Libraries affirms, "If you have a more involved research question or assignment with which you need assistance, please schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with the research librarian." Research assignments can be daunting; however, with the help of the librarians, class projects can become more manageable.

The Boston College libraries provide a multitude of invaluable resources for students to use; however, a majority of them are unknown. The tuition at Boston College is high enough that students should not have to worry about using money to purchase additional programs and services to help with their schoolwork. The library provides an economically beneficial solution to help students throughout their academic and social life at Boston College.

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