We all know students must, at some point, use the college library. Some may love the experience; others may dread it. But would they say the value what it has to offer them?

In our Spring 2015 Student Engagement Insights survey, we asked: “Does the library and its resources provide value to your academic and career goals?” Nearly three thousand students responded; 89% agreed that the library is, indeed, a valuable asset.

Likewise, we asked instructors: “Does the library and its resources provide value to your instruction and career goals?” Of the 682 people who responded, 79% said yes.

Going by these numbers, it’s clear that students and instructors both value the library for what it offers in terms of their academic and professional goals. But at times, students may forget that their campus library offers features and resources that can bring them pure personal enjoyment as well.

Below, we’ve shared five reasons students should pay a visit to their college library. We’ve gone beyond research and studying, and suggested some “secrets” that students may not even realize are available. Talk about these reasons with your students!

 

Five Great Reasons for Students to Visit the College Library (Other than Studying)

1. Special exhibits. In addition to supporting the joys of reading and research, the campus library can also be a space to enjoy a visual treat.

At many college libraries, you’ll find rotating exhibitions featuring photographs, books, maps, letters, ephemera, and other items drawn from their special collections and archives.

Libraries also often feature the work of artists who work on campus or within the community, thus highlighting the creativity of local artists, as well as the school’s connection to the world around it.

2. Author events. Many college libraries will host readings or book signings featuring authors from the campus, or around the world. They offer a unique opportunity to hear directly from the creators of a range of works. As a side benefit, students may meet like-minded people whose curiosity is piqued by similar interests.

3. Makerspaces. Makerspaces are still a hot trend in libraries (and in general). In makerspaces, students have a place to come together to collaborate on cool “DIY” projects. These spaces encourage students from a variety of study areas to interact, use their creativity, and engage in hands-on activities that hone their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Some operate on a drop-in basis; others offer special events designed around a specific activity or project. To facilitate the process of “making,” these libraries will usually have a variety of specialty tools on hand.

4. Inviting architecture and design. No matter their architectural style or location on campus, library spaces can provide a respite from hectic campus life. Students may find fountains, attractive landscaping, a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding areas, or other features that make the library a space worth exploring.

5. DVDs, magazines, and other media to enjoy during leisure time. The library’s a great place to find what you want for your study break. Flip through a magazine, check out the latest fiction, borrow a DVD for the weekend… and it’s all for free!

 

Whether you’re studying, researching, or simply looking for a relaxing or inspiring space on campus, there’s always a reason to visit the college library.

 

What’s a highlight of your college library? Share why you love your library in the comments.