Top 10 library hacks for UCL students!

4 December 2020

UCL Library Services has hundreds of thousands of amazing online resources in the form of ebooks, ejournals, films, images and more, available at any time of the day or night. Even if you're unable to arrive on campus in September, you'll still have access to everything!

Girl on laptop in the park with her dog

Here are our top 10 library tips:

1. Get to know your librarian

Librarians know everything. Fact. They are your best friend for all things library; they can tell you about all the best eBooks, eJournals and audio-visual materials for your course. If you need help or advice you can email them or meet online for one-to-one training or advice via whichever online platform you prefer. Drop them an email and say hello. You can find your specialist Librarian by browsing the Subject Guides.

2. Smash that assignment with Explore

Want to get great marks for all your essays or assignments without sifting through lots of iffy search results? You need Explore, the Library’s one stop shop for reliable information. Use it to find thousands of high quality, academic publications which you won't find on Google. It includes eBooks and eJournals on every subject under the sun.

3. eBooks: embrace the freedom!

I know we all love leafing through print books and browsing the shelves, but eBooks are so convenient! Read them anywhere, anytime, on your laptop, tablet or phone – and no heavy book bags or library fines for late returns, how great is that?!

4. Mix up your schedule

When everything is available 24/7 it can be tempting to work at all hours of the day and night. If you’re a morning person, set yourself some regular early ‘library time’ for when you’re feeling alert. If you’re a night owl add an evening reading slot to your diary.

5. Allow yourself some incentives

If you’ve spent all morning reading, why not treat yourself to a film or documentary in the afternoon or evening? If you have a lot to do but little motivation, give yourself an incentive to carry on reading. For me incentives always involve food – read that article and treat yourself to a (healthy!) snack!

6. Get an online library buddy

Like any good gym buddy, library buddies are essential to your success. Finding yourself a designated buddy to chat to online and share library tips to get you through a long day of reading and writing will help you through the hard times. Sometimes we all need someone to roll your eyes at over your mountain of work, someone to set regular coffee/lunch break times with and someone to motivate you when you just want to watch YouTube cat videos!

7. All your essential readings are just a click away

Obviously no-one ever leaves their course reading until the last minute.... but should it unavoidably happen, the Library has got your back. Many UCL courses now have an online reading list meaning you can quickly and easily find your weekly readings via your Moodle course page.

8. Get skilled!

Plagiarism! Citations! Evaluation! So many confusing library words. If you’re struggling to get a grip on your literature search or just want to update your referencing skills, check out the Library’s online training that ranges from bite sized videos to interactive courses.

9. Who needs Netflix?

The Library has some fantastic collections of movies, documentaries, tv and radio broadcasts for streaming. Catch up on your favourite quiz or soap while you recharge.

10. Stay connected

UCL Libraries have some informative and entertaining social media feeds to help you stay up to date. Many of the libraries have their own Twitter feeds, or just follow @UCLLibraries for all the latest news.

Last revised: 7 September 2021

Angela Young, Head of Library Skills UCL