What is with all those library locations?

Posted: October 4, 2019 9:00:00 AM CDT

You have your research topic all picked out (Good for you! I think that might be the hardest part). Your instructor says you have to use 3 physical resources in the library, so you’ve gone to the Library’s Quick Search, searched your topic, limited your search to just the “Library Catalog” (found under the “Refine Your Search” menu on the left side of the page) and now you’ve found the perfect source, but the location says… microfilm????? What even is that? Do not worry, I’m here to help and answer all your questions.

Here in the library we like to organize things. We love the alphabet and we believe that things that look alike need to go together in their little sections. If we could make book publishers color code the books we would be so happy!

Our organizational system can make it confusing when you (someone who does not live in the library) tries to find something. We try to be logical and intuitive, but sometimes that just is not possible so I am going to walk you through some of the item locations that might pop-up when you are searching for a book.

Let’s start simple, the most used locations tend to be Main-2nd floor, Periodicals Shelves, and Reference.

2nd Floor

Main is basically the Hufflepuff of the collections and it is located on the second floor. Anything that does not go into other places goes into Main. Main is mostly Non-fiction and covers basically every topic. If you wander into the P section you will find our literary fiction books and quite a few plays.

Kind of grouped with Main, we have Juvenile which are books that are geared towards children and Oversize which are books that do not fit on the normal shelves (I’m looking at you art books).

1st Floor

For more fiction options (as well as biographies and cookbooks), check out the Popular Reading shelves located in the Atrium, that place with the cool Wood Angel (Moose) Statue.

Periodicals Shelves house bound copies of magazines, journals and other readings that are released periodically (clever, right?). This can range from Times Magazine to the journal Nature. This is where we keep some of those peer-reviewed articles everyone is always talking about (but mostly we keep those). These shelves are located on the first floor near the Daily Read Café.

For more fun with periodicals, check out the magazines on the Popular Periodicals shelves or the Newspaper Shelves which host the most current issues of magazines and newspapers. These are both located in the Atrium area which is that big open area with the high ceiling when you first walk in the library.

Reef Creature Identification book coverReference materials (found in Reference) are books or collections of books that provide an overview of facts. This means it is usually a good way to start your research if you are new to a topic. Reference includes books such as Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, as well as things like Statistical Abstract of the United States, and my personal favorite, Reef Creature Identification.

Reference-adjacent collections include Reference Atlas, which hosts the atlases (you’re smart, so I bet you figured that out), Reference Atlas Oversized (for the extra-large atlases), Reference Maps (which are definitely maps, not just atlases that fell apart. We bought them like that, I promise), and Ready Reference which are just reference materials that are regularly used and we want to have them on hand. These are on that blue cart by the computers and the Ask-Us Desk for your use.

Other locations

Some other locations I want to highlight are anything that includes Reserves, Documents, Driscoll or Theses and Dissertations.

Reserves Items (i.e. Reserve Folder, Reserve Games, Media Reserves, Professor Textbook Reserves, etc.) are being held specifically for class use and can be found at the Circulation Desk (that curved desk to the front and left of the Atrium. I do want to point out we named one of the locations Reserve Main Collection which is extra confusing, but it’s just books pulled from the main collection that were put on reserve. Reserve Items also include the whiteboard markers, the study rooms, and headphones.

We have two government documents collections. They are Federal Documents and Texas Documents. Both of these locations are hidden behind the Reference collection on the first floor. These collections are made up of documents created by the government and include laws, regulations, scientific and technical information, and other governmental stuff. I myself used the Texas documents to look up the historical regulations on shrimp fishing in Texas when I was working on my Masters. Many government documents are now accessible online (because of technology), but we still have a nice array of papers in the library.

We have quite a few locations that are held at the Driscoll Children’s hospital. If you are looking for any items from those collections, I recommend you request them through Interlibrary Loan.

Theses and Dissertations are the Theses and/or dissertations from TAMU-CC students (cool right?) and they are located at the very end of the periodicals collection. Most Theses and Dissertations are now online (technology!), but we do have a nice collection from before we started putting them all online.

In conclusion, we have over 50 different locations in the library that you might see under a title in the Quick Search results, and that’s not even including the Special Collections and Archives’ locations (they have so many collections/locations, but you should check them out because they have a lot of cool stuff). I know it can be confusing, but we are here to help and happy to do so. Feel free to ask the Ask-Us Desk (it’s what they are known for), or the Circulation Desk (They are helpful people) or if you happen to see a librarian or staff member wandering around feel free to grab them they can help too.

Oh yeah...I guess I should mention Microfilm. Microfilm/Microfiche are those big beige cabinets that start by the Daily Read Café and end back by Federal Documents. These cabinets are filled with little boxes and in those boxes are film prints of newspapers and magazines. Making them all tiny like that saves lots of space (this was more of a thing before digital technology). We have Microfilm readers by the Daily Read Café for your use and any questions about how to use them can be directed to the Ask-Us Desk.

By: Amie Cuvelier

Category: Library Hacks, Behind the Scenes