Innovative Library for the New Millennium

Laurel Stevens partially hidden behind a book. She's in a library in front of a wealth of other books and she's lovingly clutching one with an old-looking binding, as if she is getting Old Book Fumes. She's peeking over the top of the beautiful cover and looking off to the right, as though to be sure no one is catching her!

by Alexandria Miracola.    Book lovers the world over know the particular sense of wonder that can only captivate a person as they walk through the doors of a library. Whole worlds of knowledge await them, and they are the adventurer tasked with uncovering these hidden treasures. While one could understandably assume removing the physical books and shelves would also take away the unique delight of the library experience, the Library at Signum University is, happily, here to prove that assumption wrong.

In our library, countless resources are available, each of them carefully tailored to fit students’ research needs during their time with Signum. Library Coordinator Kris Swank and her team curate the focused collection.  In addition to the no-cost content that is offered through JSTOR and ArtSTOR, Signum also has a subscription to the Literature and Language Collection, where students can find resources on a wide range of topics. In our Research Guides, students can quickly find links to all manner of journals and research sites, which have been chosen with consideration of the topics that are most relevant to their studies. In the Science Fiction guide, for example, journals and databases on Dystopian or Detective Fiction are only a click away from being explored. Likewise, if students need easily accessible resources on other topics, such as Fantasy Literature or Arthurian Legend, they will find no lack of material through the Signum Library.

The adventure does not stop there, however. All but the two most recent years of Mallorn, the peer-reviewed journal of the Tolkien Society, are available online and are an essential resource for those who are focusing on Tolkien Studies. Students are also encouraged to explore Worldcat, an online catalogue used by ten thousand libraries worldwide. When it comes to formatting academic papers, Signum’s library is also available to help. On our Open Access and Library Resources page, students will find links to websites such as Purdue OWL, along with many others, that will equip them to use the MLA style and provide proper citations.

The most important part of our library’s page, however, is the section titled, Ask a Librarian. The librarians at Signum University relish the opportunity to engage with and help students. Students can use the above contact form to ask questions or offer comments and ideas on how the library can grow. There is also a page for FAQ, and librarians are available if students want to schedule a phone or video call. Our librarians are even a quiet presence in the asynchronous discussion forums of our graduate program courses, watching for an opportunity to help with resources.  No matter what questions or research needs might arise, our librarians are invested in helping students with their studies.

More than anything, the Library at Signum University is a collaborative effort; the input that students provide and the questions they ask are no less significant than the expertise of our librarians and the resources that they have curated. All of this comes together to make Signum’s library a space that simultaneously welcomes, enchants, and equips students for an enriching academic experience.