Part One: A Student's Guide to Library Services
Welcome to the Elsewhere University Library. This guide endeavours to provide students with a general outline of library services, facilities, and safety precautions. More comprehensive help, including study guides for planning your research, finding books and journal articles, evaluating and citing sources, and safely navigating the library both with and without a map, compass, or bread crumb trail can be found online on the library's website, in print at the first floor reference desk, and translated into Norse runes and carved into the foundation of the condemned building in the west quadrant of the campus.
Instructors wishing to book a tour and orientation for incoming classes can make arrangements directly with the subject librarian assigned to their department. Basic research skills and bibliographic instruction for classes is a core services provided to all faculty. Advanced research support may be obtained with proof of approved interdepartmental charge. Payment will be extracted at the campus health centre, or during one of the library's monthly fundraising blood drives. A pound of flesh is no longer accepted in payment, as the exchange rate is currently exorbitant. Requests from the biology department will be assessed on a case by case basis until the overdue accounts resulting from the escaped blood scandal last fall are resolved.
Borrowing privileges for undergraduates and non-academic staff include a semester-long loan period with no renewals, and a maximum of three interlibrary loans per course per year. The length of the semester is determined by time passing within the registrar's office, and no exceptions will be made for the west quadrant of the campus, philosophy majors, or those born on a Tuesday. Library staff, and RAs and custodial staff assigned to Brigadoon Hall are eligible for an exemption, however. Please ensure that circulation staff are advised of your status upon yearly renewal of your library card, and keep in mind that time passes differently within the library.
Graduate students and faculty are eligible for a year-long loan period, and unlimited interlibrary loans. Additional charges for interlibrary loan material may be passed on to the borrower. Library staff will do their best to ensure that you are aware of the procedures and policies of the lending institute, however, can take no responsibility for additional fees and fines accrued. Arrangements for payment must be made directly with the lending institute. We do not have the liability insurance required to send your first-born, existential sense of dread, or the memory of the colour of next spring's tulips via interoffice mail or interagency courier. Please note that while all graduate theses are archived in the library collection, borrowing privileges for theses that have not yet been written are limited to faculty only.
Overdue fines may be waived at the discretion of the library staff for just cause. Fees for lost items must be paid by the end of the semester or late charges will continue to accrue. Nonpayment of fees and fines may result in withholding of your final transcript, degree, sense of smell, or sense of self. Barter for tangible, non-monetary items will not be accepted as payment, with the exception of plastic beads. Intangible items may be accepted on a case by case basis. Baked goods are always appreciated, but will have no effect on the balance of your account. (Donations of plastic beads will be accepted at the circulation desk, and will be donated to the library's current community support program, who is welcome to join us in the library foyer, coffee shop, and first floor classroom space, but we would appreciate it if it refrains from attempting to use the elevators to reach the rooftop garden.)
Most items in the library's collections can be located using the online catalogue, available through the library website and on workstations at various points throughout the library. Some items are only noted in the physical card catalogue, which can be found in the second sub-basement. It is not advisable to use the card catalogue without first completing an advanced research methods class, and the related safety certification and training.
The first floor houses circulation and reference services, classroom space, and current periodicals. Current is a relative term. The most recent issue does not circulate. Recent is a relative term. No exceptions are made for issues with a future date, or periodicals where the most recent issue predates the founding of the university. The photocopiers will accept coins in any denomination, currency, from any era or locale. Change returned to you will be in local currency based on this month's exchange rate as posted at the circulation desk.
Group study rooms may be booked via the circulation desk. Please show up promptly for your scheduled time, and respect others by vacating the premises in a timely fashion if another group is booked into the timeslot immediately adjacent to your own. In the event of time slips or other distortions, priority can be determined by binding arbitration in the court of the King of the Cats, ranking in the school's annual competitive macramé tournament, or if all involved parties have appropriate appendages and digits, via rock-paper-scissors. It is advisable to collect all personal belongings and count off to ensure that you are not leaving the study rooms with any additional members to the group. If you are short a member, please check at the lost and found as you leave the library. Missing posters may be left at the circulation desk, and will be shared with the weekly search parties before they enter the stacks. In the light of recent events, it is also recommended that all study group users account for their shadows when entering and leaving the room.
Reference and research help can be obtained during regular library open hours at the first-floor reference desk, in the learning commons on the second floor, and under the waxing moon, in the rooftop courtyard garden that is not accessible by elevator or by stairs. Please note that just because reference librarians know how to find just about anything, it is not always wise to ask them to do so.
The second-floor learning commons is comprised of group study space, the computer lab, and the academic writing centre. The writing centre offers drop-in help during the fall and winter semesters, and by appointment year-round. They are happy to provide you with the current list of verboten phrases and recommended alternatives that is assembled and updated yearly by the students' union. They are happy to assist you up to three times with the same assignment or essay. They are happy to explain the best way to cite your sources. They are not happy to review papers and assignments that do not cite their sources and do, in fact, claim other sources as their own words. They call this plagiarism, as does the rest of the academic community on and off campus. Theft of words is a serious offense, and all staff and faculty are honour bound to bring it to the attention of the Dean's office and to library management. We do not advise that undergraduates attract the attention of library management.
The computer lab is for research and accessing digital resources. Don't look too closely at the patterns in the floor tiles in that room. You'll just give yourself a headache, and may forget why you came and when your next assignment is due, and possibly what courses you're taking this semester as well as your middle name and the number of your dorm room. The subscriptions to the online databases does not come without a cost.
The second floor is reinforced for earthquakes, and for the load weight of the microfilm and microfiche archives. Microfilm is a surprisingly stable archival format, and can be viewed using the microfilm readers by the elevator, the scanner in the second-floor computer lab, or for those with access to the rooftop garden, a drop of water to magnify, a sunbeam as a light source, and a patch of bare earth to capture the image. You will notice that the space taken up by the microfiche archives appears quite small for the structural reinforcement undertaken several decades ago. Chemistry, earth sciences, computing sciences, and mechanical sciences and engineering collections are on the second floor, and those are definitely not iron bound shelves.
The library vending machines, on the first and third floors, are the only ones on campus that never dispense teeth, although any time but finals week, you run the risk of getting a fortune cookie and a cup of strong black tea, no matter what you've selected. Pay close attention to the fortune in your cookie. There is an exception for finals week, when it's nothing but metal washers, and green tea and sugar cookies shaped into tiny, intricate stars. Do not arrange your star cookies into constellations. It is worth noting that the only other thing that the library vending machines will dispense with a ninety percent success rate is instant ramen.
Humanities, fine arts, health science, biological and social sciences collections are all housed on standard steel shelving, floors three to six. The language and literature collections are known to be the most unpredictable areas in regards to the passage of time. Plan accordingly. Study space is available on the third, fifth, and seventh floors. Additional silent study can be found in the first and second sub-basements.
Do not expect to come back to the same season that you left if you choose to study on the seventh floor. The seventh floor is one of the few parts of the library where the collection is housed on wooden shelving. Massively sturdy banks of shelves stretch out in meandering aisles, marked by sunlight and dappled shade. The classification system is different on the seventh floor. So is the alphabet used for the spine labels. If you have bargained, traded, or borrowed for the call number of a book on this floor, write it on a scrap of paper under a waning moon. Do not write it on your hand, arm, or other body part you wish to retain. Bring the paper with you, but be prepared for it to vanish when you step out of the stairwell. (The elevator doesn't stop at the seventh floor.) Don't worry, though, an unerring sense of certainty will lead you to the book you seek. Take only one volume at a time. Don't stray from the path. Carry your iron, your salt, and your rowan twigs. If you are lucky, you will return with at least two out of three. It doesn't hurt to bring a scone from the first-floor coffee shop, either. Please note, all beverages should be contained in a cup or bottle with a lid or cap. It's not that it's unsafe, you understand, but it is a library, after all.
The eighth floor is staff offices and storage. Not office and processing supplies, which are on the first floor with circulation and reference services. Not archives, which are held off-site. Far off-site. Don't ask what's stored on the eighth floor. That is not for you to know. Only the librarians.
The rare books are held in special collections on the uppermost ninth floor. A multiple of three is the safest place for it, and the materials therein do better with sky on three sides. This is the part of the library where you are most likely to turn a corner and find yourself on another campus, in another... country. Let's call it that. Please note, most likely, but not exclusively. Always take the north elevator to the ninth floor.
The first sub-basement is reference and course reserves. The best study carrels are down here. In fact, there are a lot of study carrels down here. More than you'd think. More than it seems there should be room for. Don't think about it. Just enjoy the fact that you can always find a quiet study space with an outlet.
The study areas in sub-basements one and two are reserved for quiet study. We ask you to respect the sanctity of the designated quiet areas. (If you are whispering to your neighbour, pick up that call on your cell phone, or just singing along to the music in your headphones under your breath, you will feel a cold hand on the back of your neck, and turn to find yourself face to face with a reproachful look from one of the night shift student pages.
Some of your friends may have worked the day shift. Shelving in the university library on the day shift requires a combination of attention to detail, and the judgement to know when to when to bring a situation to the attention of the library staff, and when it is best to look away and hope the vending machine gives you iron washers on your next coffee break. Applications for pages may be submitted at the circulation desk, and will be kept on file for six to eight months. In most cases, wages will be processed through university payroll, though some exceptions will be made on a case by case basis.
There isn't a lot of turnover on the night shift, although every semester you will notice one or two new faces. The fashion sense of the night shift pages is always at least a little bit out date, and tends towards vintage. Many of them have been shelving in the library for a long, long, time, and their accuracy and speed is unparalleled.
You will get used to the noiseless ringing in your ears in the study areas in the second sub-basement. We advise ascending and descending the stairs between the first and second levels slowly, to allow yourself time to acclimatize.
It's best to go in with the call number of the book you need written on the back of your hand in mirror writing if it's in storage in the second sub-basement. Use a green pen. Take the stairs to get there. Knock three times before you open the door, take three steps forward, close your eyes, and say the title of the book three times with your hand outstretched. When the book is placed in your hand, you must say, I have found what I am searching. For the love of all you hold dear, do not say thank you. You can open your eyes now, but turn to the left and take the elevator back up instead of the stairs. Don't look behind you, no matter who you hear, and what you think you feel breathing on the back of your neck.
The third sub-basement is a staff-only area. Bibliographic services is in the third sub-basement. Do not disturb the cataloguers.
Please note that librarians comprise a relatively small proportion of the library staff. Named staff include support staff, student pages, and paraprofessional staff. They will be identified by both title and name of choice on their library-issued name tags. As with all university nametags, pronouns can be found in the lower right corner. If you wish, you may refer to library techs and other paraprofessional staff by title instead of name as a matter of professional courtesy.
Librarians are to be referred to by their respective job titles, which can be found on their library-issued name tag, business card, office door, and though you will never see it, recorded in the arcane scrolls of HR upon the point of surrender of their name. A current listing of assigned subject specialist liaison librarians for each department can be found posted on the library website, at the reference desk, and inside the rings of the oldest oak tree in the rooftop courtyard
We appreciate your consideration, and look forward to seeing you in the library throughout your academic career.