“Your friendly librarian” is not just a colloquial expression here at PHC. Our library staff is more than happy to help you obtain the information you need to complete your papers. Especially for freshmen, coming into the library can be intimating, and you might not know where to start. If that is you, do not fear—your friendly PHC librarians will help guide you along the way!
“We just hope that everyone will come in and use the library,” said Sara Pensgard, Director of the Library (image left). “Reading, interacting with, [and] analyzing those resources is a huge part of what we do as scholars. The library is where you find those things.”
The library offers approximately 40,000 print books, 220 print periodical subscriptions, 70,000 purchased eBooks, as well as free eBooks through various sources. All these resources are available through the library’s college catalogue. Whether you are an on campus, off campus, or Distance Learning student, you can input your username and password and immediately have access to the library’s entire collection. If you are not sure what exactly to search for, you can go to the Database page and find your subject there.
The library operates under the same classification system as the Library of Congress. You can find cheat sheets around the library to help you figure out how to navigate it, but the librarians are always willing to help. Unlike the Dewey Decimal System, which is what most public libraries use, the Library of Congress system does not separate fiction from non-fiction. “When you are looking at A Tale of Two Cities, you can also see the critical essays about A Tale of Two Cities right there on one shelf together,” Pensgard said.
The library also offers online research guides for many of PHC’s classes. This database lists resources or subject headings to use in your research. It also supplies starting points for your project based on how the class is taught specifically at PHC.
The most important part of the library, however, is the Experiencing Collegiate Research tool. This program walks students through the steps of conducting research. If you prefer to talk about things out loud, do not worry! “We’re hear for those people most definitely,” Pensgard said. “You can walk into our office; you can set up an appointment.” The tool is meant to remind students how to do certain steps and then provides the space to do it. Additionally, it also helps students who are simply staring at a blank Word document, not sure where to start.
Each step requires students to input information, from a thesis statement to keywords that will help once he starts researching. Patrick Steiner, who programmed this system, explained that, even though many colleges have a similar system, PHC’s is unique because it lets you download a Word document that contains a wealth of information. It includes the correct format for page numbers, the title page, and even specific guidelines from Dr. Doug Favelo, one of PHC’s history professors. “You have words on your paper, and all you need to do is add more and move stuff around,” Steiner said.
While the tool is meant to help, Steiner hopes students will still use the library staff, “because the people here are the most valuable resources.”
Pensgard encourages students that learning to use the library is not simply a skill to develop. Instead, familiarize yourself with the system, play around, come up with synonyms for the topic, and combine words to narrow in on your topic. “Just because you are good at using Google does not mean you are going to be used to using [the] library catalogue.”
Would you like to see the library for yourself? Come visit us! We would love to see you.