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10 Things a New Student Should Know About the University of Alberta Libraries  

Last Updated: Jul 9, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Below, you will find information about the U of A Libraries, how to use our resources, and where you can get help. Best of luck with your research,and don't hesitate to ask for help!


Your OneCard is Your Library Card

All you need to check out books is your OneCard.

How long can you borrow books? What are your borrowing privileges? Find out here:  Undergraduates, Grad Students

Your OneCard also has important information on it that enables you to place holds or to access the Libraries' "My Account" feature online. 

The BARCODE on the back of your card is how we identify you in the library system. Holds for books are placed in the Library Catalogue using your Barcode and PIN number, and you also can use them to access "My Account". Click here to find out more about your PIN number.


We have a Librarian for That

We have librarian experts for every field of study. If it's being researched or taught at the U of A, we have a librarian for that! Liaison librarians work together with the faculty in their respective disciplines to make collection decisions and to keep our resources up-to-date. If you need in-depth assistance for a major project you can make an appointment with your librarian

Our library staff is also well-equipped to help you find resources for your assignments and research interests - just ASK US any way that is most convenient: in person, by chat, by email etc.


Finding and Getting the Information You Need

So you have your first assignment - how do you get started?

Get started at our library homepage. The main search box searches the library catalogue and our 70+ databases. When you search, it will find books, academic journal articles, films, and more. You can also check out these SUBJECT GUIDES created by Librarians to point you to the right resources. 


Ask your prof to put the Library Resources Block into eClass for easy access.

You can get research assistance at any of our library service desks. Our staff can help you find what you need, or teach you to use our resources.

Hint: Start Early! It can take a few days to a few weeks to gather the resources you need for a paper. Leaving research to the last few days will limit the resources you can get your hands on!


Avoid Fines

Avoiding Fines by remembering the 3 Rs: REMIND, RENEW, RECALL.

REMIND yourself about when books are due! Put it in your calendar! We will send  reminders to your U of A email address, but, ultimately, you are responsible for getting your books back on time. Be familiar with your standard loan period and keep in mind: PERIODICALS and RESERVES and BOOKS FROM OTHER NEOS LIBRARIES have shorter loan periods. 

RENEW your books online with MY ACCOUNT. Sign in with either your CCID and Password or your Barcode and Pin. Check the items you wish to renew and then click the renew button at the bottom of the list. ASK US if you have issues with renwals.

Make sure each book renews! If someone has placed a hold on an item you have out you won't be able to renew it.

A RECALL happens when someone else places a hold on a book that you have signed out. No matter what loan period you have (undergrad, grad student, etc.), everyone gets material for a 2 week minimum. After 2 weeks your library material can be recalled by another borrower and your due date can change! We will email you if your book has been recalled and you will have a week to return it. Fines for a recalled book are 5$ per day so make sure you heed recall notices and return the book.

Ended up with Fines? Here you can learn more about fines and appealing fines.


We Have a Library for That

We have eight major libraries:.

Feel free to visit and use any of these libraries, no matter what your field of study is. The University of Alberta Libraries is one of the most comprehensive research libraries in North America. As a student of the U of A you have access to 11 million volumes! - everything from basic undergraduate texts to scholarly research materials. Be sure to check out the Bruce Peel Special Collections, where we keep some of the rarest and oldest library treasures. 

We also partner with libraries all over central Alberta through the NEOS Consortium. You can request books from all these institutions and have them brought here to campus!


A Lot of Our Stuff is Online

We subscribe to many different types of ebooks, ejournals, and databases. The UA Libraries provide students with hundreds of databases containing academic research and content that you cannot get freely on the internet. We also gather, organize, and create useful free stuff so that you can find it in the context of the research. 

To find a database relevant to your research needs check out the subject guides created by our librarians (HINT: Look for the green tab that says "databases" or "Find Articles"). Ask your prof to put the Library Resources Block into eClass for easy access.

Most databases are subject specific or contain a certain type of resource (ie. Newspapers, Patents etc.)

Your CCID and Password are your key to using our online resources. With your CCID and password, you can access most databases and ebooks from home or anywhere in the world. More info about access to digital resources.


You Can Search Our Stuff Online

You can search the libraries' holdings at Our catalogue searches all University of Alberta Libraries, as well as our NEOS partner libraries.  

If a book that you want is checked out or at another NEOS library, you can PLACE A HOLD on the book to have it brought to the library of your choice. You can also place a hold on books that are signed out to someone else. Books that are on hold cannot be renewed, so you will get the next turn with the book. The book is put on the hold shelf in the library of your choice. 


We Are "the Place" to Study

We have thousands of great spaces for you to get your work done. The large libraries are divided into areas for different noise level preferences. Some of our spaces have extended hours for late night study. All of our libraries have computer areas and lots of tables, individual study carrels, and soft seating. 

Working on a group project? You can book group study rooms so you can work together without disturbing others. 


If we don't have it, someone will!

The University of Alberta Libraries collection is research-based BUT we recognize that students also need leisure and various types of resources. That is why we have partnered with Edmonton Public Library (EPL) to offer the L-PASS program.


Students can register their OneCards with EPL for free. You can search the EPL catalogue, place holds on items, and pick them up at either the Strathcona or Stanley A. Milner branches of the Edmonton publc library.

For cases where we do not have the material you need, our Inter-Library Loans and Document Delivery (ILL) department has connections with libraries around the world. You can make an inter-library loan request and we can try to get it for you. To log, in you will need to know your barcode and PIN number. ILL requests can take several weeks - so make sure you start your research early!



Last but not least, you can always ASK US, if you have questions!

The ASK US link is at the top of our web page and in the Library Block in eClass. You can chat, text, email, phone us, or come into the library! Feel free to come to any of our libraries and ask for help at the Service Desk.


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