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Libraries | Ask the Libraries

International Students' Library Resources Guide

Things to know about U.S. libraries

Academic (college and university) libraries

All American colleges and universities have one or more libraries on campus for their students to use. These are academic libraries. You will be doing most of your research at UC Libraries. As a UC student you can borrow materials from other academic libraries in Ohio. 

Public libraries

Public libraries have materials for leisure and fun. You can become a member of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. It has a great collection of videos as well as popular fiction and non-fiction, including books in foreign languages. It's a great place to take your family! At Langsam Library we have a small collection of books form the Public Library. You can request books from other public libraries in Ohio through SearchOhio.

Library materials

Most American libraries have books, magazines, newspapers, movies on DVD or videocassette, and recordings on audiotape or CD, such as music, books or language-learning materials. 

Library policies

Most libraries have computers for use by library visitors. Many libraries in the United States have clearly stated policies about behavior in the library, including whether food or drink is allowed, whether cell phone use is allowed, and which places should be respected as quiet areas. See UC Libraries' policies.

During COVID-19 some policies may be modified to comply with health and safety protocols. See UC Libraries Health and Safety Protocols.

Library card

You can borrow books and other materials with a library card.  At UC your Bearcat Card is your library card. You may apply for a library card at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Library catalog

The library catalog is a database that shows which materials they own.  You can access it from  the Internet, from home or from the library; links are on every library web page. Use the catalog  to find a specific book or to search for books on a specific subject.

Open stacks

Most American libraries have "open stacks." This means that library visitors can walk to the shelves of books and get the books they want. The books are organized by call numbers. In most UC Libraries call numbers are based on the Library of Congress Classification system.  Read more on the Books page.

During COVID-19 access to most library collections is not available. Libraries offer pickup of requested materials.

Research and academic integrity

In American higher education, independent research, including library research, is very important. Your professors will often expect you to find books and articles on your topic rather than tell you what you need to read. You will eventually have to present the results of your research, often in the form of a research paper. UC Libraries have a book that may be very helpful to you, Beyond the Answer Sheet : Academic Success for International Students by William B. Badke. See also Academic writing : a handbook for international students by Stephen Bailey.

You also need to be aware of plagiarism, using another writer’s words or ideas as your own. Read our guide Using Information Sources Ethically and Legally to learn about plagiarism policies at UC and avoiding plagiarism.

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Phone: 513-556-1424

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