Use Your Sacramento Area Libraries!

smartestcard_medMaybe we’re not paying enough attention to the American Library Association, but in the library we were surprised to learn that September was Library Card Sign-up Month.  And now it’s over… At SCC, you don’t have to worry about getting a library card–it’s bundled into your Employment Card or Student Access Card–but this might be a good time to think about the advantages of setting yourself up with outside libraries too.

Public libraries

Public libraries are best known as great places to find books, videos, and CDs, especially if you’re not looking for specifically academic material. What is less well-known is that public libraries also provide electronic subscription databases that can complement the ones SCC supplies–and in most cases all you need is a library card to access those resources from any computer (see the list of databases offered by Sacramento Public Library and Yolo County Library). A few examples:

  • Sacramento Public and Yolo County Library both offer the Literature Resource Center from Gale, which like the Literary Reference Center we offer is a great way to get info on specific authors and works;
  • Academic OneFile, available from Sac Public, is a good alternative to our multidisciplinary database, Academic Search Premier;
  • both library systems offer NewsBank; even though for most newspaper searches you’ll want to use LexisNexis Academic from our databases page, NewsBank provides superior access to the Sacramento Bee.

And then there are resources we simply don’t have anything resembling, such as the treasure trove of pop culture information in American Decades (Yolo); or LearningExpress Library (Yolo and Sac), which offers test-prep materials for the SAT and a host of licensing and certification exams.

Here’s another tip: most public library systems in California will grant library cards to any California resident, not just locals. So if you find yourself near a library in San Francisco, try signing up for a card, which will get you access to an impressive selection of databases.

Academic Libraries

And don’t forget about our area’s well-appointed academic libraries! CSUS and UC Davis both offer special borrowing privileges to our students and faculty. Checking out up to five books at a time from UC Davis costs our students only $12.50/quarter, and our faculty nothing at all (see their website for details). Sac State’s deals are not quite as generous, but still well worth looking into.

Even if you sign up for a borrowing card from UCD or CSUS, you won’t be able to get to their databases and e-journals from home. But if you go to the campus, the story is different; all you need to do is visit one of their libraries and use their publicly available computers. Bring along a flash drive and you’ll be able to save articles you need for your research! (See the lists of databases from UCD and CSUS). And remember, Sactown dwellers, that the Blaisdell Medical Library, part of the UC Davis Medical Center Complex located not far from SCC, counts as a UCD library (see location and hours).

Special Libraries

Finally, if you’re doing some specialized research, remember that this town has a number of archives and special libraries that you can make use of. Not too long ago the Bee published a handy list of these.

Do you use any of the libraries listed above, or others not listed here? Let us know!

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