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Library FAQs: Home

Have a question about the library? Check out this guide!

Q: Why do libraries always have to be quiet?

A: We enforce the noise policy in the library because people often come here to study or work on assignments, and noise can be distracting. Out of respect for your fellow students and the library staff, we ask that you adhere to the noise policy. This involves keeping voices to a whisper, turning cell phone ring and alert tones on silent or vibrate, taking and making calls outside of the library, and keeping music turned down so that others are unable to hear it. While there are other places at the Summerdale location where you are free to make noise, the library is one of the few places reserved for quiet study.  

 

Q: Do you have to go to college to become a librarian?

A: Yes, in addition to a 4-year bachelor's degree, librarians are required to obtain a master's degree in library science or library & information science from an accredited graduate school. 

 

Q: I'm really nervous about plagiarism. Is everything I write going to be considered plagiarism?

A: Plagiarism is a really important concept for you to understand, but your professors, the Learning Center, and the librarians are here to help and support you. When you're not sure about whether something you've written could be considered plagiarism, just ask!

 

Q: Can I learn how to use the computers better in the library?

A: Sure! We can help you figure out how to use Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, we can help you with formatting your paper, and we can help with using our online resources, our online catalog, and with searching the Web. Please also see our "How-To" guides for information on saving, printing, and keyboard shortcuts. 

 

Q: Will we be able to use what we learn in the library sessions after we graduate?

A: Yes. You will. 
First, your job may require you to conduct research. We try to give you valuable information about searching that, if you use it, will set you apart from your coworkers who just randomly search using general search engines. We also try to explain the value in reading everything critically (not believing everything you read) so that you are selecting resources of the highest quality, which will further set you apart.

If you choose to go to graduate school, what you learned here in the library will be invaluable. It is unlikely that anyone will show you how to search for books or journal articles in grad school, and your success will be very limited if you do not use scholarly resources to complete assignments.

Finally, those searching and critical evaluation skills are essential when you need to find high quality information for yourself. Don't trust that what's published on the web is accurate. Search smarter, and then be judgmental!

 

Q: Why doesn't the library carry all of the required textbooks?

A: The library's primary mission is to provide materials that supplement the Central Penn curriculum. This means it is our goal to purchase materials other than the required textbooks that will help you complete assignments and gain knowledge about the subjects you're studying and about your future professions. We are fortunate to be able to carry some of the required texts, and those are reserved for student use in the library.

 

Q: Ordering textbooks online can be confusing. How does it work?

A: The library's textbook guide or the online bookstore's website should answer any of your questions about ordering textbooks. You will need to know the course ID (for example, ENG 100) or the course name before you go to the bookstore's website. You can find this information in your course schedule on My Central Penn. 

 

Q: I don't understand all that citation stuff. Can you explain?

A: First, it's important to understand that you need to provide a citation for anything that you borrow from someone else. A citation gives credit to the person from whom you're borrowing. You can borrow all kinds of information; an idea written in a book, blog, or article, an image from the web, a line from a movie, poem, song, or podcast, something you found on a website, and the list goes on and on. Whatever writing style you are using for your assignment, whether it is APA, AP (Communications), or Blue Book (Legal programs), requires that you include certain pieces of information in a citation. Make sure you check out the library's APA guide!

In APA style, 

  • In-text citations, which appear in parentheses after a quote or paraphrase, usually contain the last names of the responsible person(s) or organization, the date of publication, and the page number where the information was located. For example, (Jones, 2012, p. 15)
  • Your References page appears at the end of your work, and provides full citations. APA style usually requires that you include at least the following information in your full citation: name(s) of responsible person(s) or organization(s), date of publication, and title of the work. Depending on the type of work being cited, you may also need to include publisher information, a URL, volume and issue numbers, page ranges, and a date accessed.

The two most important things for you to remember about citation are 1) that you should cite your source any time you borrow something, and 2) that you should not try to memorize how to cite sources! There are many guides to citation that can provide you with help in determining how to cite sources both in the text of your paper and in your references list. One source that we recommend is Diana Hacker's A Pocket Style Manual, which is on reserve for you to use in the library. This book will help you with in-text citations and your References page, and it provides citation examples for many different kinds of sources. We also highly recommend that you visit Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL), where you can find many different examples of citation. Just use the table of contents at the left side of the Purdue OWL page to select your source type. You can also find help in the APA guide in the Sidebar at the right of this screen, or by asking a librarian.

 

Q: How should I format my papers?

A: Check with your professor for any specific formatting requirements that fall outside of APA style.

In general, though, APA requires that you have 1" margins on all sides, that your paper is double-spaced (with no extra space between paragraphs), that the first line of each paragraph is indented by 1/2", and that you use Times New Roman 12-point font. 

View our APA Format guide for detailed instructions on formatting your papers, and our Creating an APA Template in Word guide for creating a pre-formatted template that you can use for every paper.

 

Q: Why doesn't the library organize books the way they do in a book store?

A: Actually, we do! Just like they do in book stores, we organize books by subject, and then alphabetically by the author's last name (or sometimes by the first word in the title if there is no author or a corporate author). The numeric codes we use are "call numbers." Each part of the call number tells us something about the subject of the book, with numbers before the decimal point telling us what the book is generally about, and numbers after the decimal point indicating more specifically what subjects are represented.

Because books are arranged by subject, when you find a book on the shelf by using its call number, you will find other books about the same or closely related subjects near it.

If you find a book in the online library catalog, click on its call number to locate other books about the same subject.

The call number can be a great way for you to locate additional resources of interest.

 

Q: I still don't understand how I can find a book using the call number.

A: When you look for a book in the library's online catalog you will find that the book has a call number listed. For example, if you search in the catalog for the book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach, you will find its call number, 611 ROA, listed. The call number tells you to go to the General Collection (because there are no lead letters like REF, LDR, or OVR, and because the catalog tells you that the book's location is "General") and search on the shelf that contains the number 611. You will find books on that shelf with call numbers ranging from 610 to 616.

The call number also tells you (but not in words) about the subject of the book.

Here's what you really need to know about call numbers:

1) You can use the call number to figure out where the book is on the shelf,

2) You can click on the call number in the catalog to find other books about the same subject, and

3) The other books near the book you found on the shelf will have similar call numbers, which means they are about similar subjects, so it will be easy to find other books that might help you with your research!

Learn more about using the library online catalog here.

 

Q: How do I find legal collection/law library materials?

A: You can search the library catalog to find specific materials contained in the legal collection, which is located in Bollinger Hall Room 48. The call numbers for these books begin with the letters LEG, and the location is "Legal Library."  

 

Q: How do I find the library on the web?

A: Start at www.centralpenn.edu. In the orange band click College Services, and then click Library. From the library page, you can access our online resources, our blog, and the online catalog. To the left in the College Services menu you can also access information about our services and circulation policies. 

 

Q: Where can I find articles online?

A: There are several answers to this question. First, you can find articles in the library's subscription databases, like EBSCOhost Web and Gale Databases, which you can access from our Online Resources page. You might also look for articles in Google Scholar, where you are more likely to find articles from scholarly journals and other credible resources than if you simply search in a general search engine like Google. If there is a particular journal you want to consult, you can try to locate its website and see if it offers any articles free of charge (and if it doesn't, be sure to check with a librarian--we may have an online subscription to the article in one of our databases). Finally, be sure to check here in the subject guides for your major, and see if we've listed any online resources that could be useful to you.  

 

Q: Why isn't it easier to find information?

A: There is a lot of information being created every day. Some might even argue that there is too much information. As you learn better ways to search for information, it can become easier to find. The library can help you come up with search strategies to locate the best information for your needs. Here is a list of a few things you can do to search smarter:

  • Think about what you REALLY need to find, and try using some specific key words about your topic to search
  • If you have too many results and none of them seem to be very relevant, try narrowing your search by adding another key word 
    • For example, if you want to write about faulty brakes in cars, a search for "cars" will provide you with too many results, most of which will be irrelevant because they won't specifically deal with faulty brakes. It would make sense to search for "cars" AND "faulty brakes" to make sure you get more precise results.
  • If you don't have enough results, try adding synonyms to your search. 
    • For example, if you search for "doctor-assisted euthanasia" you may get a very small number of results. This concept is often referred to as "doctor-assisted suicide." Searching for "doctor-assisted euthanasia" OR "doctor-assisted suicide" will expand your results. 
      NOTE: If you searched for "doctor-assisted euthanasia" AND "doctor-assisted suicide," you would actually LIMIT your results to articles that contain BOTH terms, which might mean that you wouldn't receive any results at all! Using OR between terms creates a search that looks for articles that discuss EITHER topic.

 

Q: I'd like more information on how to use Ebook Central (or another library online resource).

A: You can learn more about how to use Ebook Central using our online guide. We have a whole section about how to use Ebook Central, as well as a few on some of our other online resources. You can also always ask a librarian for detailed instructions on how to use any of our resources. We can help you in the library, over the phone, via email, texting, or instant messaging. Click HERE to see how you can contact us.

 

Q: Will work that I have saved on library computers be stored there?

A: No, any document that is saved to any computer in a computer lab or library laptop will not be saved. You should always save your work on a portable storage device (like a flash drive), or if one is unavailable, save it to your OneDrive account within Office 365, or email the work to yourself. In addition, it is always best practice to save your academic work! Don't just print your assignment out, turn it in to your professor, and forget about it! What if your professor's dog eats your homework BEFORE he or she has a chance to grade it??? 

 

Q: How can I save my work to a flash drive, and how do I retrieve it from the flash drive later?

A: Great question! See the detailed answer in our How-To subject guide.

 

Q: Are there job or community service opportunities at the library?

A: The library does employ student workers every term through the Work-Study Program. Positions are filled very quickly (because this is a great place to work!). You should contact the Financial Aid office to determine your eligibility for hours through the program. 

 

Q: What are the library's hours?

A: 8:00 AM through 10:00 PM, Monday-Thursday.

    8:00 AM through 5:00 PM, Friday.
    See the Library Home Page for details.

 

Q: Are there special hours for finals?

A: As of this time, the need for extended hours during the week of final exams has not been deemed necessary. Be sure to build adequate study time, including time needed in the library, into your schedule in the weeks preceding midterms and final exams. 

 

Q: What is the cell phone policy?

A: Cell phone ring tones and informational tones need to be turned on silent or set to vibrate in the library.

If you receive or make a call, please be courteous and take the call to the vestibule or outside the library.

If you plan to use the vestibule for phone calls because of inclement weather, please keep your call short, and try to speak quietly. Sound in the vestibule does carry into the library, and is very disruptive.

 

Q: Why don't the computers in the library have Microsoft Word loaded on them?

A: You should be able to access Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, and PowerPoint from any of the library's computers. You will also be able to access Microsoft Office applications from your Office365 account.  If you are unable to access one of these applications, please make the librarian on duty aware of the problem. 

 

Q: How do I borrow books?

A: If you are on-campus, you can check books out at the library by bringing them to the Circulation Desk near the entrance to the library. We will need to see some form of photo identification (driver's license, student ID, passport) so that we can verify your identity. If you do not have photo ID or know your student ID number, please contact Security (717-728-2364) to make arrangements to obtain a student ID.

Students who do not attend the Summerdale campus should contact the library to make arrangements to check books out.

 

Q: How long can I keep books I take out?

A: Books that circulate are due on Friday during the last week of the term. DVDs, video games, board games, and devices can be checked out for 7 days. Course reserves and headphones can be checked out for 2 hours, and must remain on library premises. Reference materials and periodicals cannot be checked out. 

 

Q: How many books can I have checked out at once?

A: You can have a total of 10 items out at one time. If you have overdue items, your borrowing privileges may be suspended until you return the overdue items.

 

Q: Where are the movies?

A: Come in and we'll show you! Or you can search the online catalog for specific titles. 

 

Q: How long can I check out DVDs?

A: You can check out DVDs for 7 days. 

 

Q: Is my student ID my library card?

A: Yes, your student ID also serves as your library ID. 
You are automatically entered into the library system as a library patron, but you will still need to present your student ID with the expiration date affixed in order to check out items.
You can create a personalized account in the library's online catalog. To do this, you will need to enter your name, your barcode (which is your student ID number), and you will need to create a PIN.

 

Q: Why can't I check out reference books? Is it OK to make copies of pages of reference books? 

A: Books in the reference collection are typically used for brief periods of time (think of dictionaries and encyclopedias--you wouldn't necessarily want to read the entire book, but rather refer to it for a definition or an explanation). This also means that many people might need to refer to the same book in a short period of time. If you checked a reference book out for the entire term, it would not be available to anyone else who might also have an immediate need for the book. It is also likely that if you need more detailed information about a topic, we have other materials that you can access online or in the general collection that you can use for longer periods of time and will provide the detailed information that you would not find in a reference book.

Yes, you can make copies of the pages of reference books.

 

Q: How many librarians are on duty at one time?

A: There will always be at least one librarian on duty when the library is open. In addition, there is usually a student worker available to help you with your questions and to check books in and out.

 

Q: Will library staff members edit your papers for you? What is the website where I can have my research paper corrected?

A: We will be happy to help you with citation and formatting, and we're always willing to give basic feedback, but your primary source for help with writing assignments should be the Learning Center.

 

Q: Does the library offer help on a subject?

A: Sure! If you need help finding resources for your research, we can definitely help!

It's best if you can provide us with information about your assignment (if you have the written assignment instructions, that will really help us understand what you need). It's also helpful if you can provide us with some additional information, like your thesis statement, or your specific ideas about your topic.

Keep in mind that if your topic is too narrow you may not find enough resources to support your research, and if it's too broad, you might not be able to cover it sufficiently within the scope of your assignment.

 

Q: How much time is really needed to grasp certain points of a topic?

A: It depends on the topic. First, you should read some background information about the topic to make sure you understand the concepts and issues involved. Good resources for learning about a topic include encyclopedias and subject-specific dictionaries. Credo Reference is a perfect online resource for beginning your search. Credo provides access to thousands of dictionary and encyclopedia entries, as well as images. Think of it as Wikipedia for academics. If your topic involves social issues, like national security, the housing crisis, or medical or business ethics, you might try looking for information in the online database Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Make sure your topic is neither too broad nor too narrow. If it's too broad, you might have trouble defining your thesis statement and making your point succinctly. If it's too narrow, you'll probably have trouble locating resources. Ultimately, the more information you obtain about a topic, the easier it will become to understand it.

 

Q: Why would you put a fireplace in a library?

A: Ordinarily, you wouldn't. Before the library was used for its current purpose, it had a more social function, and served as a gathering place for students, so the fireplace would have made sense! Although it isn't used anymore (the books wouldn't like it, and we like to keep them happy!)we think it still adds a bit of charm to the library's atmosphere!

 

Q: Why is the library small, and are there plans for expansion?

A: We are adding new books and other resources to the collection all the time! We are growing right along with Central Penn, and we strive to provide adequate materials to support students, staff, and faculty. Don't forget our online databases, which do not take up physical space in the library, but provide a significant collection of scholarly and other resources!

 

Q: Who is the library named after?

A: The library is named for its benefactor, Charles "Tremendous" Jones. Mr. Jones was an area businessman (Executive Books in Mechanicsburg, PA), a noted inspirational speaker, and a life-long bibliophile.  

 

Q: Why are call numbers on books in different sections of the library color coded?

A: This makes it easier for staff and students to distinguish between different parts of the collection. For student workers, who shelve a lot of books, it is much easier to put books back in their correct locations when the call numbers are color coded. This is also true for students who use books in the library and then want to put them back where they found them. Since call numbers can be confusing (really, they can!), we thought it would be nice to color code them so that students can easily tell what section of the library they're in.

 

Q: Why are the Workplace books in their own section?

A: One area of focus at Central Penn is to help students prepare to enter the workforce in their desired fields. The Workplace collection reflects that mission, and we felt it would be most appropriate to set these resources apart from the rest of the collection.

 

Q: Do you ever find books in the wrong section?

A: Yes, we do! In fact, this is one of the reasons we ask that you leave out any books that you use in the library but decide not to check out. You can place them on the cart near the general collection that says "Return books here", just leave them on a table, or drop them off at the Circulation Desk on your way out of the library. Leaving books out when you're finished with them helps us get a better idea of what books are being used in the library. We don't track who uses them (that's against our privacy policy), but it is helpful for us to know which books are being used.

 

Q: Does the library have fiction or other general interest books (and what about scary books, children's books, or young adult books)?

A: As an academic library, we primarily collect resources that will support the academic curriculum. However, we do have a fiction section that includes some young adult and adult fiction, poetry, drama, and some other titles of general interest. Fiction is in the 813 section of call numbers in the general collection.  If you're looking for something on the scary side, try an online catalog search for keywords like "paranormal," "parapsychology," or "ghost." We also have the New Arrivals shelf (on your right as you enter the library), where you will find the most recent additions to the collection--there are always interesting titles on display there!

Some kinds of books, including children's literature, are outside the scope of our collection development policy. If you can't find what you're looking for, we might be able to borrow the book you want from another Pennsylvania library. Contact us, and we'll see what we can do!

If you're looking for children's books, new releases, or popular fiction, the public library is a great option! Pennsylvania residents (with the exception of some Perry County residents who don't have a "home library") are eligible for a free public library account. If you need help finding a local library, please let us know.

 

Q: Do you block any websites on the computers in the library's computer lab?

A: No, filters are not used on the library's computers. However, you are required to use the library computers in an appropriate manner in accordance with the Central Penn College Information Technology (I.T.) PolicyThis includes not plagiarizing or violating copyright law (for example, making illegal copies of music or movies), as well as "practicing the principles of community."

 

Have questions that you don't see answered here? Let us know! 
Submit your questions to library@centralpenn.edu, and be sure to include the subject line "Freshman Seminar FAQ" if you want your questions (and the answers) posted here!

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Contact the Library

Hours:

Monday - Thursday: 8AM - 10PM

Friday: 8AM - 5PM

Saturday and Sunday: Closed


Contact:

Email: Library@centralpenn.edu

Phone: (717) 728-2500

Text: (260) 2ASKREF

‚Äč         (260) 227-5733

Library Director