U.Universities follow the latest government Covid guidelines. As a result, most of the libraries on campus only operate with substantial access. Some offer bookable, socially distant study areas; others offer click-and-collect services.

Due to limited access to resources, students report having problems. Freshman psychology student Erin Carr failed to achieve mandatory reading for her course. “The online books expire a few days and have a limited number of downloads,” she says. “Also, I don’t have the required storage space on my device. It’s really frustrating. “

Creative writing student Owen Clark * has been fined £ 20 for two books he has not been able to return and relies on online magazines as he lives at home. “The university sends me an email asking for the books back,” he says. “I don’t know what to expect from me.”

While browsing books on library shelves isn’t currently possible, there are other ways that you should try.

Talk to the librarian

“My top tip – tease your librarian,” says Colin Higgins, librarian at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge. “It is our job to support our students. If you can’t find what to read, your librarian can find it for you. “

Avoid using google and get to know your library website. “Librarians are organized people,” says Higgins. “They know which resources are more relevant to your work, and they have set up their online libraries to give you the easiest access to what you need.”

Regina O’Brien, assistant director of operations and user services at Lancaster University, says students “should definitely get in touch” and can book one-on-one online sessions and training with subject-specific assistance.

Use online chat features whenever possible. At City University, these are available Monday through Friday, and at the University of Sunderland, students can video-call assistance.

No matter how far you are in your course, you will learn how to properly use the library search engine. “It’s not embarrassing not to know how to use them as they can be a nightmare,” says Michael Natzler, policy officer at the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi).

Use online resources

Most universities have worked to digitize collections, expand the range of e-books and other online material, and ensure that students have access to e-databases and journals like Jstor.

Find out what registrations, subscriptions, and learning resources are available. At Middlesex, for example, students from the Arts and Creative Industries faculty have access to Adobe Creative Cloud software. At the University of the Arts in London, students have subscriptions to databases like LinkedIn Learning, which include videos to aid creative practice. Box of Broadcasts, which provides access to television and radio programming from numerous channels; and free movie streaming through Kanopy.

Stick to reputable sources. “All academic theories always have different sides, and the specter of fake news hangs over a number of news resources,” said Fiona Greig, director of library and IT services at the University of Winchester.

Look for used books

Don’t think you have to buy new books. The National Union of Students says all text needed for courses should be available online – but students feel disadvantaged if they don’t have it. “I was considering buying keytexts, but they sell for about £ 40 a book on Amazon,” says Carr. “I don’t have a job because of the pandemic, I just can’t buy all the books I need.”

Facebook groups and eBay can be a good place to look for used copies, especially if you can sell them back later. Warwick student Darcey Edkins said she bought her literary books through a “Pass the Book” sale on Facebook. “It’s still not ideal, but it’s a lot cheaper than Amazon.”

Recreate the enthusiasm

Many students miss going to the library. It can provide an important welfare function that allows you to gain access to spaces outside of your bedroom and see others and avoid loneliness. For those who lack background noise while at work, some student unions, such as the University of Manchester, organize virtual learning sessions on Zoom. Alternatively, there are eight-hour titles on YouTube that mimic libraries and cafes.

Contact the tutors

Lecturers say they keep updating their reading lists to prioritize items available in digital format. If you’re having trouble accessing printouts, let them know and they can point you in the right direction. Although academics are currently very pressed for time and replies can take a few days, one of the benefits of online teaching is the ability to share screens and view specific articles, according to Nick Hillman, director of Hepi.

* Name changed on request

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