top tier university library visit

Visit the Libraries at Top-Tier Colleges

The library is a home away from home for many college students. If you ask an admissions officer or a high school guidance counselor about things to do when you visit a college, among the activities that they’ll recommend is to visit the library. When you’re there, stroll around and observe. Can you see yourself spending a lot of time there? It’s likely that you’ll be doing just that.

Some of the most fundamental benefits that colleges and universities offer to students are associated with their library systems. Below are the results of a survey of students regarding the library-related activities that they engage in:

Study alone 77%
Access the databases online 51%
Use printed reference materials 39%
Meet with a study group 34%
Check out books 29%
Use books that faculty have placed on reserve 22%
Review job and career resources 19%
Socialize 13%
Attend library events 10%
Read non-circulating materials, e.g., periodicals 8%
Nap 6%
Take classes on how to use the library’s resources 5%
Other 9%

Source: Cengage Learning

Librarians track student use patterns and then seek to satisfy needs. In this manner, libraries develop a more accommodating environment for students. Brown University librarian Harriette Hemmassi notes that, “We’ve made our library spaces more inviting, more personal. When you come in, you get the sense that someone cares about you as a student in that environment…that’s really important.”

What should you consider when touring a school’s library? It’s a good idea to approach the library staff with questions. “More and more college libraries have shifted to become service-oriented,” says Cindy Fisher, an experience librarian at the University of Texas at Austin who helps new students transition into college. “Think of some things you might need as a student and ask the librarian at the reference desk what kind of resources their library system offers.”

Observe the atmosphere and aesthetics of the main library. Do the facilities seem comfortable, easy to use, and attractive? Many colleges and universities have multiple libraries, one of which may be a more social environment than the others. Visit them all if you can, although this may be difficult in some cases. For example, Harvard’s collections are housed in over 90 libraries, most located in Cambridge and Boston but others as distant as Washington, D.C., and Florence, Italy.

Check out the library system’s website and digital resources. We’re in the information age and academic libraries are on the cutting edge of technological advancement. From digital archives to specialized search engines, many library systems can help you find just whatever you’ll need in connection with your assignments and research. Also, since libraries operate on a fixed schedule, it’s important that you understand their remote access services because they’ll be the only resources available to you after hours.

In the past, the number of volumes in a library was a key consideration for scholars in choosing a university. Today, with the vast resources available to everyone through the Internet, it is not as critical a factor. But the annual budget of a school’s library budget is significant enough to note. It helps you to understand how well the school will be able to maintain their current library services and improve on them.

The Association of Research Libraries compiles a list of university libraries with the highest annual expenditures. The top 25 institutions and their expenditures are listed below for the 2015-16 school year. Four Ivy League institutions are among the top 10 along with New York University, also a private nonprofit university. The other five universities in the top 10 are public institutions. One Canadian university, the University of Toronto, is in the top 25.

Top 25 Research University Libraries by Expenditures (2015-16)

# University Expenditures
1. Harvard University $119,614,204
2. Yale University $93,128,408
3. University of Michigan $74,702,421
4. Columbia University $68,922,024
5. University of Toronto $65,954,319
6. New York University $64,888,392
7. Pennsylvania State University $59,242,593
8. University of California at Los Angeles $58,114,938
9. University of California at Berkeley $55,984,751
10. Princeton University $55,151,886
11. Cornell University $53,893,306
12. University of Texas $52,916,981
13. Ohio State University $47,357,887
14. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign $47,304,323
15. University of Pennsylvania $46,905,095
16. Texas A&M University $46,860,833
17. University of Southern California $46,485,868
18. Duke University $45,267,778
19. Emory University $45,113,520
20. University of Washington $44,407,936
21. University of Minnesota $43,705,622
22. Johns Hopkins University $42,324,171
23. University of Virginia $42,110,533
24. Indiana University $41,276,553
25. University of North Carolina $39,810,164
IvySelect, as a college admissions consulting firm specializing in top-tier schools, has successfully assisted many students in achieving their primary educational goal of admission to an Ivy League or similarly elite institution. If you aspire to attend a top-tier institution, you’ll need our professional expertise to optimize your chances of acceptance. We recognize that you are a unique individual, so, together, we develop a strategy and then work with you in its execution in order to achieve your goal of admission to the best colleges and universities.

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