About Us

Reference Services Department at Cook Library

The Cook Library Reference Services Department provides reference and instructional services to the university community. The department is made up of six faculty librarians, one part-time librarian, three staff, and several student assistants. Reference Services personnel are available at the library assistance desk all hours the library is open. We are here to help you use the library to effectively satisfy your information and research needs. If you have questions, please ask us!

Learning Commons

The Reference Services Department operates in the Learning Commons. The library's print reference collection (such as dictionaries and encyclopedias) is an integral part of reference services and is located in this area, along with atlases, current periodicals, and current newspapers.

The majority of the university's public computers are located inside the Libraries and supported by iTech. The Learning Commons alone has approximately 166 computers available for use by students, faculty, staff, and the general public. Additional computers are available elsewhere in the library.

Cook Library Room 110 (LIB 110), located in the northeast corner of the Learning Commons, is a computer-equipped classroom used primarily for library instruction provided by Reference Services librarians.

The Cook Library Learning Commons also houses the Curriculum Materials Center, Speaking Center, and Writing Center. The Commons Gallery art exhibit space is located in the southwest corner of the Learning Commons.

Reference Services

Reference services are provided in-person, by telephone, and online. In addition to walk-up assistance, reference assistance is also available in the form of one-on-one or small group consultations with a librarian. Students, faculty, and staff may submit the consultation request form to schedule a meeting with a librarian.

Instructional Services

Library instruction, sometimes called bibliographic instruction, is designed to teach information literacy and library research skills to students enrolled in university courses. Instructional sessions are designed to meet the specific research needs of the students and may range from a general overview of the library's collections and services to advanced, discipline-specific research techniques for graduate students. Instructors should use the instruction request form to schedule a session.

Reference Collection

Reference books are generally consulted to find specific information, rather than read cover-to-cover. The reference collection includes almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and other similar resources. Printed reference materials are typically non-circulating. Many reference resources are also available online.

Please consult the Libraries' FAQ for assistance in using the library catalog to find reference books. Each of the library's research guides also includes a page about reference resources.

Atlas Collection

Atlases are included in both the general circulating collection, located in the stacks, and in the reference collection, located in the Learning Commons. Oversized atlases are located on special shelving in the Learning Commons. Atlases shelved in the Learning Commons are typically non-circulating.

Please consult the Libraries' FAQ for assistance in using the library catalog to find atlases.

Current Periodical Collection

University Libraries subscribe to nearly 600 periodicals in print format. The most recent issues of these journals and magazines are available in the Learning Commons. Unbound periodicals do not circulate.

Please consult the Libraries' FAQ for assistance in using the library catalog to find periodicals.

Current Newspaper Collection

University Libraries subscribe to a variety of state, national, and international newspapers. Two to three months of paper versions are available in the Learning Commons. Paper newspapers do not circulate.

Older issues of newspapers may be available in the microform collection located in 2nd Floor South (LIB 209) or online in one of the Libraries' article databases.

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