It is right smack in the middle of campus and its large pillars and multiple floors gives those walking by a sense of curiosity and awe.
“When I first saw the building it reminded me of the White House and it just looked important,” said incoming freshman Arie Thompson.
The Oviatt Library is a place all students should be familiar with and not intimidated by either. Throughout your academic career, if there is one thing that most students will have to do at some point, it is research.
The library has over 1,600 seats for in house studying and during the fall and spring semesters, the building is open 90 hours a week and provides access to electronic information 24 hours a day.
The main home page has everything students need and more. This allows students easy access to sources they are looking for with just one click. Students can search the library database from A-Z or search the catalog and find articles and research data. Students can also click on the link titled ‘Ask a Librarian’ and this will allow students to email questions or talk on the phone to librarians during library hours from home to help troubleshoot whatever problems or questions they have. And, if it is late and students are stuck they can chat live with a librarian online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In order to best take advantage of the library students “should get to know the basics and never hesitate to ask questions,” said Librarian Jennie Quiñones-Skinner. For new students and freshman it is important for them to know their student ID and password and have their school ID with them because this allows students to check out books.
If students need to get away from distractions and want a quiet place to study, read or do work, there are individual study rooms as well as group study rooms which come in handy when students are involved in group projects and assignments.
The library has also added a lounge area on the first floor by the reference desk which was proposed by students said Library Assessment Coordinator Katherine Dabbour. Therefore, students are not just confined to quiet places in the library but have a place to hang out and talk with friends too. And, for those who lug around their laptops, the lounge has laptop friendly chairs and tables for your conveneience.
In the beginning of the semester, there are instructional technology people who set up a booth in the lobby of the library that help students with SOLAR and their portal as well as helping them with internet connection on their laptops, said Dabbour. And, a booth will be set up by the library during the first week of school giving students and librarians a chance to introduce themselves and allows students the opportunity to ask questions.
As First-Year Experience Librarian, Susanna Eng-Ziskin has worked with many first year students and her goal is to help students make their initial year as successful as possible. Eng-Ziskin explains that it is important for freshmen to have a good experience their first year because the transition from high school to college can be a little scary to some. Eng-Ziskin wants to make sure that students do a good job their first year so they stay beyond the first year and succeed towards graduation because “a lot has to do with how well they do their first year.”
The library offers online databases that go beyond Google because professors want their students to find scholarly and credible sources for their papers and projects. Eng-Ziskin says it is important for students to ask for help and use the library because there are databases out there that charge for articles that students can get for free and can ease that burden with the help of a librarian and the Oviatt Library.
The library also has many computers with Internet available for students as well as the opportunity to rent out a laptop. There is also a media/music department for students to check out movies and CDs for educational purposes.
The library strives in making their website more intuitive and are presently undergoing some changes to make it as easy to access as possible and ‘As a student, as long as you learn how to search one database, you can search them all, said Eng-Ziskin.
There are library sessions that are offered in conjunction with certain classes offered at CSUN such as University 100 for incoming freshmen, which teach students how to use the library catalog and databases.
And, though the building is large, there is no need to feel intimated because now students can get a tour from home by visiting the following site: library.csun.edu/fye/tour
Some of the key things to keep in mind about the library is don’t be afraid and ask questions said Eng-Ziskin who suggests students come into the library once or twice before they actually need to because when the time comes, it will be less intimidating and students will feel less stressed.
All the librarians are friendly and helpful and nobody should hesitate to ask questions because as Dabbour said, “There are no dumb questions” and “If you don’t ask for help, you’re never going to get it,” said Eng-Ziskin because as librarians “We are working for students.”