Welcome to the University of Minnesota Libraries
Besides offering various services and
resources to support academic course work
and research, the University Libraries serve
an international student body of
approximately 6,000 who come from more
than 130 countries around the world.
As an international student studying in
another culture and educational system,
you may have some difficulties conducting
library research because our library system
and its services are somewhat different
from those in your own country.
This guide will introduce you to some
aspects of our library system. We hope that
you will find the guide useful in your library
research and that you will have an
enjoyable experience using the University
- Welcome Video
Watch this video for a brief overview of the Libraries.
About the Libraries
- Open Stacks
Most American libraries have "open
stacks." This means that library users can
walk to the shelves of books and get the
books they want. (You don't need to ask a
librarian to do this for you, though they will
help you if you cannot find a book.)
You cannot borrow everything in the library.
Some books, like dictionaries and
encyclopedias, stay in the library for
everyday use. Also, at many libraries, you
have to read new magazines and
newspapers at the library. These materials
are referred to as "non-circulating" or "in
library use only."
Located in 12 separate facilities on the
University's three Twin Cities' campuses, The
University of Minnesota Libraries have the
15th largest research library collection in North
America. The major branches are the Wilson, Walter, Bio-Medical, Magrath, and Elmer Andersen Libraries.
Each library is specialized by discipline. Here
are some examples of the libraries:
- Ames Library of South Asia
Social sciences and humanities in English, vernacular and European languages from or about Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
- James Ford Bell Library
Non-circulating rare books, maps, and manuscripts on the expansion of western commerce and civilization from the 14th to 18th century.
- Map Library (John R. Borchert)
Main repository for cartographic materials, including thousands of maps, atlases, and aerial
photographs. The Automated Cartographic Information Center provides
access to digital spatial data, allowing library patrons to create and print their own maps.
- Bio-Medical Library
This library serves the areas of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. It is also the location of World Health Organization publications.
- Magrath Library
Books, journals and government publications in agriculture, biological sciences, design, applied statistics, food science, family social science, applied economics and more.
- Elmer L. Andersen Library
Home of many of the University Libraries' archives and special collections, including manuscripts and rare books, personal papers, and archival records.
Most libraries have a Reference Desk. If you
have a question about research or how to use
the University Libraries, the Reference Desk
is a good place to start.
- Ask Us!
Get individualized library research support for your courses via chat (24/7), email, phone, or in-person.
Other Library Services
- Research Consultation
Librarians are happy to meet with you one on
one. All you need to do is contact them for an
As a U of M student you have access to many services for free.
- Borrowing Services
You can borrow books and other materials by using your U Card. As a registered student your library privileges include a check out unlimited items and full access to online library resources both on and off campus.
- "Get It" Book Request through MNCAT
Requesting a book from a Twin Cities campus library is a one-stope process for registered students. Book delivery services at the TC University LIbrarys are as simple as clicking "Get It"!
- Interlibrary Loan
The University Libraries have many books and journals. However, sometimes you might want a book or article that the University Libraries do not have. The University Libraries can borrow these materials from other libraries for you. This is called interlibrary loan. This is a service available to all UMN students, faculty, and staff for free.
Interlibrary loan usually takes one or two weeks for requested books to arrive in the designated library for pick-up and 3 to 8 days for requested articles to be delivered to your email account.
The University Libraries offer free workshops on a variety of topics, such as how to do research, how to use certain tools, like Zotero (an online tool for organizing your citations and research) and creating posters using PowerPoint. Browse a list of course offerings and register here: Workshop Registration
Feel free to sign up for as many workshops as you like. You may also repeat workshops as many times as you need.
There are also recordings of most of our workshops, as well as online tutorials and other online resources located here: Workshops, Tutorials, and Guides.
- Computer Services
The University Libraries provide access to computers that connect to the Internet and have software to assist you in your classroom assignments and projects. Availability varies throughout the University Libraries. Several of these computer stations are available through the SMART Learning Commons.
- SMART Learning Commons
The SMART Learning Commons is a one-stop resource for students needing research, media, technology, or writing help. The SMART Learning Commons brings together library, writing, and computing experts in one area with ready access to staff, computers, and information resources. SMART Learning Commons are located at Magrath, Walter, and Wilson Libraries.
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