Article Image
@riosmatt / via Instagram

For most Barnumbians, libraries are sources of emotional pain: Redbull-infused late nights, problematic dissertations, essay-length problem sets, holes in the ground (hi, Barnard), and general feelings of despair. What you should know, however, is that libraries will be one of your most vital resources during the entirety of your college career.

Spectrum took a page from the library's playbook and avidly researched through the catalogs. We found quite a few interesting and helpful tips that will enhance your college library experience.

Curious as to how to make the most of our library system? Read on.

Get research help when you’ve hit a wall

Is your thesis dragging you down? Stuck in a rut on a research paper? Request a consultation appointment with a librarian to give you that extra push. Whether you're just starting your research or have spent hours on CLIO, the librarians are there to show you how to do the digging.

Find the departmental librarian for your area of study

Both Columbia and Barnard libraries have subject specialists whose literal job it is to assist you if you need research help in a specific department. Barnard even has personal librarians for everyday questions and issues. If you would rather research on your own, you can check out the Columbia or Barnard subject guides instead—they'll help you get started working with those big, bad primary sources.

Navigate New York City smarter

From official city documents to a list of NYC sports teams, the library has a site devoted to New York City info. Whether you are in History of the City of New York, Design Futures: New York City, or just a fan of the place we call home, you will find some fascinating material. You can also send this page to that annoying uncle who keeps asking you for things to do when he comes to visit next March.

Find your professors’ dissertations

While this service is technically through ProQuest, you have access to essentially every dissertation ever written (well, at least those which have also made their way online). Maybe you're seeking that perfect adviser-advisee match, and you want to know your professors' specializations. Perhaps you are looking to angle your own paper to better align with their views. Maybe you've been crushing on your statistics professor and want to find a way to connect with him after your class is over. After taking a quick look through his dissertation, casually bring up your newfound passion for data visualization. "Oh, that was your dissertation topic? Please tell me more!" Love blossoming, and all because of Columbia's library service.

Watch a ton of television

The libraries have video and webcast streaming available for 46 different documentaries, news, and informational shows on any topic your heart desires—from primates to the opera. One of said resources happens to be every episode of the primetime show, "60 Minutes" from 1997 through 2014. I didn't know I wanted this until I saw it. I recommend spending a night (or six) watching.

Learn Columbia’s lesser known school songs

While you obviously are familiar with "Roar, Lion, Roar," have you heard of "We Are The Stuff" or "Sans Souci?" These two songs are hidden gems in the Columbia music repertoire, and the lyrics and scores are available for you to learn!

While this article gives you plenty of things to focus on for now, it by all means isn't the definitive list of all library resources. Hit up the Libraries website to find out how they can be there for you.

Have you taken advantage of the library's resources? Do you have a favorite episode of "60 Minutes"? Comment down below, tweet, or Snapchat us @CUSpectrum to share your thoughts.

Miles Greenspoon is a Spectrum staff writer and a GS/JTS junior. He prefers to love the libraries from a distance. Reach him at or @mileshasjokes.

academics library resource
From Around the Web