Things I learnt working in the Library

Current and future students should be aware of how the Library can be a huge asset to their studies.

Following three years studying at La Trobe, I thought I had a decent understanding of what the Library offered. But after working in communications at the Bundoora Campus' Borchardt Library for most of 2019, I've come to realise I didn't know as much as I thought I did. The humble pie is delicious, thanks for asking.

So, here are some things I wish I knew as a student, plus a couple of fun library facts thrown in too.

1.       The resources are outstanding!

As a student, I knew the Library had some great resources that I regrettably didn't take advantage of. It's not that they were hard to find, I just didn't look hard enough. But luckily, you don't have to find them, because I'm going to tell you about a few. On the Library website, cast your eye on the 'Quicklinks' on the right-hand side of the page. Here, you'll find a bunch of links to beneficial resources for students.

My favourites are:

  • Expert Help Guides

If you want to go above and beyond in your degree, Expert Help Guides (EHG) can get you there. For your area of study, EHG provides links to useful information on finding resources, referencing and writing tips for your area of study.

  • Reading Lists

This is a really simple feature, but a great idea. On the Reading List page, copy your subject code into the search bar and it will provide you with all the required and suggested reading for that particular subject. A huge time-saver.

  • Assessment Planner

Another simple and effective tool to make your life as a student easier, and one that should be used by every student. Log your subject, the date you will begin the assignment and the date it's due, and the Assessment Planner will break down the assignment into several key dates. This will give you a bunch of mini-targets to complete, in turn keeping you on top of your work.

2.       Library training and workshops

This could've been added to the above point, but it deserves its own section. I had no idea about the Library's training and workshops when I was a student and boy could I have used them. Found on the Library's home page under 'Quicklinks', some of the training and workshops offered have centred on referencing, improving search skills and how to use a variety of computer software. Great for all study levels!

3.       It's not just a Library

As an outsider looking in, libraries have an assumption of being just a place for books. That's not the case, especially for La Trobe's libraries. For each campus, the Library is the heart and soul of the University. The campuses are basically built around their libraries. Apart from the extensive book collections, our libraries have or are close to learning hubs, ASK La Trobe Help Zones, cafés and terrific study spaces, just to name a few things.

4.       The Library employs more staff than I thought

Tucked away in the unseen crevices of the Library, many tireless La Trobe Library staff put their blood, sweat and tears into keeping the gears of the University grinding. OK, that might be a stretch. But I was genuinely surprised by how many people worked behind the scenes here. As I've learnt, there are 3 portfolios, and 11 teams across the Library covering Scholarly Collections, Partnerships & Engagements and Library Business Services.

Just think about that next time you think you can get away with leaving a mess in the Library…

5.       There are secret collections in secret locations

I first found out about the unique collections in hiding a couple of months into my time working at the Library. I don't know what's in there. And I'm not sure if anyone does. I can only assume they're either worth a fortune or they are far too grossly inappropriate for a university library. I guess we'll never know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Written by La Trobe University Media and Communication graduate Tennyson Tinning.

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