May 30th, 2008

Using Libraries in Your Area

Library LogoI often get questions from learners asking what libraries they can use in their area. Like your courses, the Library for Capella learners is online and we do our best to have all the resources to support your research needs. Getting used to using an online library (like taking a online course) may take some time and practice. After all the most individuals experience with a library is a physical building with books.

If you are not finding what you need at the Capella Library, try calling or emailing before you try another library. We will be able to suggestion different databases (we have over 30 of them) or keywords which will help you. If we don’t have what you need, we can get resources from another library for you through interlibrary loan. Interlibrary loan allows us to email an article or mail the book to you (with a prepaid mailer to return it). However, interlibrary loan can take 3-10 business days, depending on if you are requesting articles or books. So if you have a need quick need and it is not in our library, sometimes we can help you find a library in your area that has the material you need. This really should be the exception, not the rule, in finding library resources for your coursework.

Just a “word of caution” if you do use local libraries. I know that the concept of a library seems pretty “standard” however every library has a different mission and focus.

Academic Libraries use the tuition dollars that their learners pay to collect journals and books to support their programs (just like part of the tuition dollars you pay to Capella goes for library resources to support your coursework). Therefore if you go to an University or College library in your area, they may have certain restrictions regarding learners who are not enrolled in their institution. Its always good to call before you go to that library to find their policies for non-affilated users, the librarians here at Capella can also check for you.

The other type of library you may use is a Public Library. Most of us “grew up” using our public library in some way, shape or form. They are wonderful welcoming centers of the community. However, they often do not have the level of resources you need for academic work. The dollars they get for resources go not only to support resources for individuals who are returning to school but also members of the community in many different roles (business people, parents, children etc.) The librarians there want to help in whatever way they can because they are a public institution, but again remember it is the responsibilty of the institution you are paying tuition to to support you in your academic coursework.

Thus we come full circle back to the Capella’s online library and the librarians who are waiting to help you use the resources via phone, email or in-person at Colloquium. Don’t wait hours or days to contact us when you can’t find something in the Library call or email, we are here to help!



Comment from Erin
Time May 31, 2008 at 11:51 am

I was just helping someone from Texas who had a question about using local libraries. In Texas there is a Texshare card that lets registered people check items out from other public and academic libraries around the state. Other states have connections between libraries so you have access to a broader selection of materials than what is in your local library. You can ask a librarian at your local public library to find out what’s available to you.

Comment from Steve Derebey
Time May 31, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Robin: While I agree that Capella has put together a wonderful database of articles, journals and resources, sometimes there is just no substitute for a book. I would never have been able to develop a full understanding of the work of Alfred Adler had I not been able to read “Masks of Loneliness” or “The Drive for Self.” Journal articles only reach the “Readers Digest” level of understanding that can be gleaned from reading a full book. Until on line library databases literally contain the full text of every book written, they simply will fall short of being able to fulfill the complete needs of a student attempting to seek a full and complete understanding of a particular subject.

Steve Derebey
Mental Health Counseling Learner

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Time June 2, 2008 at 9:46 am

[…] One important component to supporting your information needs will always be Using Libraries in Your Area. […]

Comment from Robin
Time June 2, 2008 at 10:29 am

Thanks for your comment Steve. I agree it is very important to read books in your field. The Capella Library has over 60,000 full text ebooks available(through ebrary, NetLibrary ,PsycBOOKS, Credo Reference and Gale Virtual Reference databases). We can get print books for learners through interlibrary loan. I’m not sure I would use the words “Reader’s Digest” level of understanding when describing the peer-reviewed research articles that are in our databases. However, I do get your point that a book can often cover more information in-depth than a journal article. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! Robin

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