Student Digital Ambassador Guest Blog 1

A.K.A Why I love the Library

As I sit down to write this post, please pity me as not only has my laptop decided to finally kick the bucket this week, it’s also the two-week period where four of my assignments are due (insert sad emoji face). But this is not the time to lament ladies and gentlemen; we’re here to talk about the library.

When the UCD library staff asked me and my partner Orla to give the ‘student perspective’ on the library, my immediate thought was some poor soul, sitting in the corner of the second floor of the James Joyce crying over an unfinished assignment (as an arts student I have never ventured to the illustrious spaces that are the Health Sciences/Blackrock Library, far too scary for me). I myself have imitated this image regularly and it isn’t pretty. But on further thinking I don’t think it’s what they meant. I’m going to guess they want us to discuss why exactly we students use the library and how it can be improved for us. However, this week I’ve been pretty stressed and don’t want the poor library to suffer any bad reviews on account of my sleeplessness (is that even a word). So let’s focus on what makes the library awesome and how we’re super lucky to have it in out college lives.

It may be the most obvious thing in the world along with the sky is blue, but you can borrow books from the library. And you can borrow nearly all of them. Seriously, before I attended UCD I attended another college where you could borrow hardly any of the books available. Do you know how heart-breaking it is to spend all your time wading through the online catalogue to find that one particular book that only has one edition and one copy and is ‘LIBRARY USE ONLY’. And there’s no eBook, so no sneaky download either. Proper ‘Blue Screen of Death’ material. No UCD for the most part has multiple copies of multiple editions, and it is fabulous.

Also the mystical wonderland that is JSTOR. Thank god for the free access. When you’re anxiously trying to find one more source to fill in that mandatory 6 text bibliography, a handy JSTOR article is just what you need. And let’s not forget the huge amount of reference dictionaries and guides that UCD’s ‘street cred’ lets us access (did I say street cred, I meant paying for our permission to use these materials for academic use). The number of times the access to the Oxford Classical Dictionary online has helped me is unaccountable.

And has anyone seen the sheer volume of books a UCD student to check out? 8 long loans, 3 week loans and 3 short/4 hour loans all at once. Like what? That’s amazing. I mean realistically I am not nearly as dedicated to my essay writing to take that many out at once, but for the high flyers among us that is a sweet deal. The short loan system is the pinnacle of good organisation. Now no one from your 100 strong arts elective can hold onto the set textbook for the whole semester. It ensures that fairness s spread throughout the educational landscape (unless it’s assignment time; then its every scholar for themselves).

Stepping away from the books, we always seem to forget about the other million resources that the library has for us, all available with a swipe of your UCard. From the self-service machines, so one doesn’t need to be sociable at 9am on a Monday morning, to the ingenious facility of being able to borrow a laptop for use on library grounds (but please remember to log out Facebook before you return it, seriously!), the UCD library is continually finding new ways to help improve our students lives. I didn’t know until recently you can book a group study room for things other than tutorials, and can even use them for individual study if they’re free. Now I wouldn’t cause I hate the idea of sitting in a classroom on my own, but if you’re one of those people who takes up 4 desks worth of space with all your study accessories, it would probably be a great idea. I also have it from the staff themselves they’re put even more plugs in the library. Personally I haven’t seen them but they are there! (Ten points to whoever hunts them down).

But for all the flashy study aids and technology the library throws at us, we need to remember the people who make it all possible; the staff. They’re the ones thrown into the deep end, right on the front line (which is the reception desk but still super stressful). They answer all of our queries, help us pay fines when they refuse to waive them, and re-shelve the books every day, even after I leave a stack of books on the merits of Greek Tragic Drama on the engineering floor (so sorry I’ll try not to do it again!) They are courteous and professional and never hesitate to help the students in need. They’re the ones who keep our library exhibitions going, which although may not be read by the majority, still look pretty impressive. They’re the ones who dot super cute decorations around to cheer you up during holiday study sessions when you should be at home watching Netflix, but were too lazy during the semester to do any the work. And they have copies of nearly all the local newspapers from around Ireland, up to date in the library. Yes, most people don’t read the paper any more, but the library still gives you a taste of home on those days you really wish you were back home with mammy.

We may associate it with the most stressful times in our student life and yes sometimes there are far too many people in it for our liking, but the library is one of the hearts of UCD, and it’s time we showed it some love. Now I must leave it here, I’ve 2 essays to do and one is for Latin so have mercy on my poor sleep deprived soul (any sacrifices to Jupiter in my name are always appreciated!)

Hazel Byrne

UCD Student Digital Ambassador 2016



  1. Thanks for a good read. I like the display feature they run in JJL, with a new theme every fortnight or so – Irish cinema, the 1916 Rising, the Dublin literary award. I try to keep at least one non-academic book on the go during term, though I’m falling way behind at the minute. It was great to see a book I’ve read among those on display this week – “The zone of interest” by Martin Amis – a book you’ll remember.

    I can’t recall what I was studying that led me to a book on the architecture of Ravenna in the Richview Library. Great book and a lovely library, in the further reaches of the campus – worth a visit.


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