The Learning Game
Having decided what to read for your course, or for an individual assignment, the next step is to get hold of it from a library.
Services For Off-campus Students
(a) All you need to do is make your request for the materials you need by post, telephone, fax or e-mail and these will be sent to you.
(b) Such libraries are designed specifically to meet your needs, and will hold most of the reading material you need.
Many institutions are developing on-line searching facilities which students will be able to access through a modem in their own homes.
Two things should be remembered:
(a) Plan ahead. Competition for material can be fierce, so do not wait until just before an assignment is due to order your books or you won't receive them in time.
(b) Give full bibliographic information for each item you are requesting. For books this means author or editor (surname and initials), full title, edition and date. For journal articles this means author, title of article, full title of journal (not abbreviated), volume and issue number, date and page numbers.
Some institutions provide all these services for free, while some pass on the costs incurred in such areas as photocopying, interloan, and the searching of on-line databases.
You may prefer to browse the shelves of the local library yourself. Most of you will belong to the local public library; it can supply you with basic reference tools such as general encyclopedias, dictionaries and yearbooks. Large public libraries hold a wide range of general reading, but even they cannot be expected to provide the specialized academic textbooks and journals you require. Some organizations have a special library set up to meet the needs of its staff members. If, for example, you work for a legal institution, and are studying a legal course, you may be able to obtain your reading material from such a library.
Polytechnic or university libraries other than the one you are enrolled at will probably hold at some of the materials you will need, and you may be able to use books, journals and databases there. Some of the libraries will also grant borrowing privileges, usually for a fee, but do not expect this as a right. The first responsibility of any tertiary is to attend to the needs of its own students, and resources are often limited.