Q&A: What Is the Purpose of an Online Library?

Answer: Most schools and universities have an online library for students, staff and faculty to utilize. Many college courses require written research papers or essays. Any assignment that contains any content from another source must have a reference page. References include websites, articles, books, videos and/or interviews. All of this can be found in an online library. References should be reliable and academically relevant. Libraries contain reliable resources that are appropriate for research papers and essays.

Another great use for an online library is to search for additional information on a specific topic. For example, let's say you are taking a history class and the weekly topic is the Civil War. After reviewing the assigned course readings, you may want to have a better understanding of the Civil War. You can utilize the library to find more detailed books, movies, etc.

A third use for the library (similar to the above reason) is when you are having difficulty with a specific topic or an entire subject area. For example, if you are taking a math class and having difficulty with the concepts, problems, etc. You can use the library to find additional course books or workbooks that may help you better understand the class.

Within these resources, usually included are videos. Academic and instructional videos on almost all educational topics and subjects can be found at most public and online libraries. Videos can be used for personal reference to clarify a specific topic or for general subjects. Videos are also great references for research projects and/or assignments. Many students may not understand the point of an online library because most of us have access to the World Wide Web (Internet). However, content on the Internet isn't always trustworthy. Books, articles and videos within a library system tend to be more reliable.

Accessing an online library is pretty simple. If the library is only available to your school, you should have an access identification and password. I encourage you to visit the online library frequently. The library can provide great resources and tools to help you in your classes.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!