With classes now locked in, the looming assignment deadlines you’ve earned yourself are now becoming all too real. And with midterm season — frighteningly enough — just around the corner, it’s just about time to start putting in some serious study hours. But for all the student complaints about the overwhelming and sometimes cold nature of our massive, research-focused university, this is one of the times the U of A’s academic prowess can help you out: in the back stacks, special collections and digital archives of its vast library facilities. Thanks to the simple accomplishment of carrying a OneCard, you have access to a wealth of information that’s hard to find anywhere but a post-secondary institution. Take advantage of our guide of where and how to get access to the overwhelming store of knowledge the U of A’s main campus holds, and you’ll be well on your way to conquering your academic fears.
Rutherford Humanities and Social Sciences Library
Located centrally on campus, Rutherford is the university’s largest library, also claiming the title of the country’s second largest research library. It’s broken into North and South divisions, with five floors on the newer North side full of study cubicles and, of course, shelf upon shelf of reading material from humanities-related disciplines. Just make sure you pay attention to the noise restrictions on each floor — some are simply “quiet” while others are strictly “silent” to accommodate serious studiers. The second floor of Rutherford North houses the Music Library, equipped with not only books related to music, but CDs, records and printed scores for your perusal. There are even individual listening stations to provide immediate auditory access to the library’s materials.
Across the way, Rutherford South is home to the Rutherford Reading Room, called “the Harry Potter Room” after the high ceilings and banquet hall-style construction that invokes images of the Sorting Hat ceremony. While the room is spacious, its extended hours during exam season make it a favourite study spot during crunch time, sure to be packed with students at all hours of the day. On the lower level, Rutherford South also features the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library, a climate-controlled environment home to a huge store of rare books and other materials. There are some stricter conditions about accessing material than other libraries, but with holdings including early editions of texts by the likes of Charles Dickens and William Blake, Bruce Peel is far more than just another library on campus.
For those seeking information from the scientific side of campus, Cameron Library has all the resources you’ll need. Home to the Dr. Josephine M. Mitchell Mathematics Library as well as the Canadian Circumpolar Collection, the library caters to specific disciplines within the sciences as well as containing a broader store of information in the Data Library on the second floor. Here, statistical information and survey responses on a huge array of topics can be retrieved, made available specifically to university staff and students.
Cameron’s main floor also contains the Knowledge Commons, with group study space available, and the lower level houses the Study Hall — open 24/7 throughout the semester, making it a lifesaver for the inevitable all-nighter of your university career.
John A. Weir Memorial Law Library
Doing legal research is serious business, and the Law Library, located on the second floor of the Law Centre, maintains a steadfastly studious environment. Here you can look up case files and legislation on any topic imaginable, with a research collection devoted to common law in Anglo-American jurisdictions and Canadian government and legislative documents from the federal or provincial level.
John W. Scott Health Sciences Library
Researching topics in the health sciences can also be a serious undertaking, and the John W. Scott Library, devoted to the faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, fosters a staunchly intellectual atmosphere in addition to a wealth of medical knowledge. In the northeast corner of the Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre on campus, the library also features the Rawlinson Rare Book Collection on the first level, giving students access to thousands of volumes of texts related to medical sciences from as early as the 16th century.
Winspear Business Library
Located on the first floor of the Business building, the Business Library contains a reserve collection for current business courses and access to a huge variety of business-related databases about anything from accounting to real estate. It also includes group study space for the inevitable group work business courses frequently require.
H. T. Coutts Library
The Coutts Library, attached to the Education building, supports the Faculties of Education and Physical Education and Recreation. This includes not just access to educational research, but rubrics and lesson-planning resources for teaching.
St. Joseph’s Library
In the basement of St. Joseph’s College, this library’s thousands of volumes are connected by a focus on Christian theology and philosophy. Resources for courses taught through the college are also found here.
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