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Library Guide for International Students
Table of Contents:

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 Libraries.
  • Welcome Video
    Watch this video for a brief overview of 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."

  • Library Terminology

    Libraries use specialized vocabulary to describe their services and materials.

    The content in the following links provides definitions and translations for terms commonly used in US libraries.

    • List of Library Terms in 6 Languages
      Here's a list of common library terms translated from English into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, French, and Spanish.
    • Glossary of Common Library Terms
      Definitions (in English) of common library terms
Library Guides
  • In English
  • In Chinese
  • In Korean
About the Libraries

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:

  • 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.
Reference Services

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.
  • Research Consultation
    Librarians are happy to meet with you one on one. All you need to do is contact them for an appointment.

Other Library Services

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.
  • Workshops
    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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