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The Office of Graduate Student Life

Grad Student Resource Spotlight: Boston College University Libraries

“value beyond discovery”


Tom Wall
University Librarian, Boston College

Boston College University Libraries: “Value Beyond Discovery”

Upon his arrival at Boston College three years ago the University Librarian, Dr. Tom Wall, established the Graduate Student Advisory Group, working to provide services and resources tailored for the specific needs of graduate and professional students.  Dr. Wall and the entire library staff are committed to continuing to develop this positive relationship.  As a result of this collaboration, we are fortunate to have quiet study spaces designated for graduate students throughout campus, as well as extended hours and many resources that we hope you are utilizing!  As we gear up for finals, we would like to remind you of all that is available to you, courtesy of our friends at the Library:

Study Spaces:
O'Neill Library has over 1,000 seats available throughout the building with a mixed landscape of tables, individual carrels, booths, lounge chairs, and computer stations, as well as in group study rooms (book online) and classrooms.

O’Neill Library has a reading room on the 4th floor, and a private study room on the 5th floor, both of which are reserved for Graduate students only.  The study room (511) can be reserved in person at the Circulation desk or online on the library website.  Additionally, there is designated Graduate Study and Research Space in Babst Art Library, with 60 individual study carrels in the mezzanine area of the Kresge Reading Room.  Here, ten computers with specialized software and a laser printer are provided for the exclusive use of graduate students. Computers and lockers can be checked out at the Information Desk.

You may have noticed a big change on Level One in the O’Neill Library between last spring and this year!  This floor has been part of an ongoing transformation for the past several years.  This summer, the library replaced the old blue shelving with open, mixed landscape seating.  The new space takes advantage of natural light, and provides comfortable seating and diner-style study booths.  Moreover, Level One also has a new open collaboration room that has been created with moveable furniture and floor to ceiling white boards.  Yes, you can write on the walls.  No reservations necessary!

The ERC, Social Work and the Theology and Ministry Library have open study space as well.

O'Neill Library has lockers for graduate students and other members of the Boston College community as recommended by the Office of the Assistant Dean for Students with Disabilities. The lockers are available on a first come, first served basis and can be reserved for the academic year. To request a locker, visit the main circulation desk in O'Neill Library.

Extended Hours:
O’Neill will be open 24/7 starting Monday Nov 26th thru Wednesday Dec 19th.  The Library is kind enough to open a few days between Christmas and New Year’s to accommodate graduate students who may remain in the Boston area over the holidays.  Click here for their Exams, Christmas, and Semester Break schedule.

Ask a Librarian:
In Person:

Meet with a Subject Specialist Librarian who specializes in your area of study or stop by any Library reference desk.  These subject specialists are available for help with your research, to set up alerts to new publications in your areas of interest and to answer any research and library related questions.  Your Subject Specialist is also available if you would like a tour of O’Neill Library or a tutorial on how to access the many resources.  Additionally, there are always librarians available to help and answer any questions you may have at their Reference desk on the main level of O’Neill. 

Text a Librarian:
Text us at 66746 and start your question with "askbc". Example:askbc how do I find book reviews? More info about this service.

Ask-a-Librarian 24/7:
Research help from BC Librarians and participating Jesuit institutions across the country.

Call a Librarian: 617-552-4472
A Reference Librarian is available by phone during most open hours of the Libraries.

Other Graduate Student Support Resources:

Information on everything you might need to know, ranging from locating books, videos, dissertations and other items in the Libraries’ collections, placing resource requests for items beyond the BC Libraries collections, and accessing full-text articles online.  Here you will also find information on accessing research databases and research guides, data management planning, citation management tools, TA/TF Support, and more! 

Research Resources:

Technology Resources:
The library offers mobile apps for smart phones, text messaging, e-mail and Facebook, and is implementing e-book services that can be used with most devices (Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.)

They also check out laptops, iPads, chargers, adapters, and calculators at the Circulation desk on Level 3 of O’Neill.

Culminating from a three-year development partnership between Boston College and Ex Libris, BC is the first library in the world to go live with a newly integrated system called Alma! This system uses cutting-edge cloud-based technology and provides a solid technical infrastructure that will enable better resource management and innovative new library services.  Be on the lookout in the near future for personalized online library content and services that will use the Alma platform.

Submit Your Thesis/Dissertation:
Walks you through the steps for submitting your thesis or dissertation online, as digital files.  These electronic theses and dissertations are hosted in eScholarship@BC, the University's institutional repository, so that they are available to anyone with internet access.

Rare Books, Special Collections, and Digital Collections:
The Library has been increasingly collaborative with faculty and students, providing research consultation, courses and learning opportunities with their special collections, and a redoubling of their efforts to make the libraries the very best possible in terms of spaces, services and collections.

 “Special collections represent the truly unique materials in an increasingly interconnected and digital world. These special materials are invariably print based and form a critical link to our past and a reminder of our intellectual heritage. We now take a much more utilitarian view of special collections; an approach that I think Ignatius of Loyola would welcome. We want and encourage all members of our community to come in and discover our collections, to be awed by their splendor, and above all to use them. We will continue our commitment to collecting materials, but are redoubling our efforts in making these materials discoverable, usable and accessible to faculty, researchers and students.” -Tom Wall

A new Committee is currently forming to discuss academic integrity for graduate and international students to discuss good decision-making.  This will be particularly important for those of you teaching/working with undergraduate students! 

If you have any suggestions or special requests, please do not hesitate to contact your Subject Specialist or Dr. Wall.  They are here for you and encourage you to take advantage of the plethora of resources the Library has to offer!