Student Survival Guide: Navigating library resources


Kat Uher

The DVC library is home of different resources available for students. (Kat Uher/The Inquirer).

Maureen McSweeney, Staff member

College libraries are known for their research databases and book stacks, workrooms and study carrels. While these are valuable tools, students aren’t necessarily aware of when they’re available, where to find them, or how to use them effectively. Further, the lesser-known resources offered by libraries, such as free digital subscriptions and rental services, often go unnoticed. Because access to these materials can hugely benefit student success, The Inquirer has compiled a list of Diablo Valley College library resources deemed important by both staff and students.

Location, Hours, and Information

Perhaps the most important information to note is DVC’s library hours and location. Found at the Pleasant Hill campus, the library building is open from 7:45am-9pm on Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. 

The library’s online resources can be found on its homepage. For those with questions, the “Ask a Librarian” feature allows DVC students to get 24/7 assistance. Answers to previous student questions can be found on the Library FAQs page.

DVC Connect Card

Most, if not all, of the DVC library resources require that students have a valid DVC ID. These can be obtained for free at both the San Ramon and Pleasant Hill campuses. In Pleasant Hill, students can get their ID at either the student union building or the library’s Circulation and Reserve Desk. In San Ramon, students can obtain their ID in the Learning Commons. For more information on student IDs, click this link.

Role of a Librarian

Librarians are, as DVC librarian Katherine Becvar states, the ”main customer service point of the library.” They can help students narrow research topics, find reputable sources, navigate Canvas,  download software, locate campus buildings, and much more. Ultimately, librarians have an extensive knowledge of library services and serve as the most direct source of assistance for students.

Research Resources

Academic research can be difficult, but the DVC library has resources to help students throughout the process.

Students can book one-on-one appointments with librarians to work on research papers. Everything from defining a research topic to developing effective research strategies can be addressed in these sessions.

Online, the DVC library staff has curated research guides for a variety of topics and academic disciplines. These guides give students a starting point for research within specific search domains. Statistics, immigration, and career exploration are just some of the topics covered. 

For a broader research approach, students can use OneSearch.  This tool on the library homepage allows students to search within all of the library’s databases. Results can be filtered by publication date, subject, publisher, and a host of other criteria. For OneSearch assistance, see a librarian. 

Computers, Printing Service and Scanner

Computers are found near the reference desk and provide students with unlimited internet access. Students must login with their student ID number and Insite password. Computers logout after a long period of inactivity.

As for printing, students can send files to DVC print stations from any device, personal or otherwise, at any time of day. This can be done by either adding a file or URL to the webpage or by emailing files to [email protected]

Files are printed from the print release station near the reference desk and are 10 cents a page. There are currently no color printers, but students can save desired documents to a flash drive and use the copier to print in color for 40 cents a page. Payment information can be found online.

For those interested in scanning textbooks or other items, there is a scanner to the right of the security gates. Scans are free and can either be emailed or uploaded to a flash drive.

Textbook, Calculator, Charger, and Laptop Rentals

Most required textbooks, as well as solution books, are on reserve. This means students can rent their textbooks for three hours at a time by going to the Circulation and Reserve desk. Students have the option to scan and email pages to themselves during this time.

As for graphing calculators, the library currently has 110 that can be rented for a semester and ten that can be rented for three hours at a time. Semester rentals go fast, so interested students should inquire about them as close to the beginning of the semester as possible.

There are also 32 laptops and a limited supply of Apple and Android chargers available for three hour rentals. However, students are not allowed to take them out of the library.

Study Spaces

For individual study, there are many carrels. For those who prefer an open work environment, there are tables with lamps and outlets near the reference desk.

Intended for groups of two to six people, library study rooms are equipped with outlets and chalkboards/whiteboards. There are ten rooms available to rent, and reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance. There is a four hour reservation limit per person per week, with a two hour reservation limit per day. Students can reserve a room online

Digital Subscriptions

DVC students and faculty have free unlimited access to the New York Times digital newspaper. To register, students must search for Diablo Valley College on the NYT’s website, and follow the instructions to create their account. 

DVC staff and students also have free unlimited access to Kanopy, a video-streaming service. Comparable to Netflix, this website has thousands of titles ranging from anthropological documentaries to Hollywood blockbusters. 

Play Kit Rentals and Children’s Books

For students with young children, the DVC library has a few play kits available for three hour rentals. These kits contain boardbooks, blocks, and other toys that will hopefully occupy children while their guardian studies. These kits cannot leave the library, so it is recommended students reserve a study room. 

The library also has a collection of picture books near room L202 that can be checked out or read in the library. If necessary, ask a librarian for help finding this section.

In combination, these resources give students free access to video streaming, research databases, a news subscription, graphing calculators, textbooks, study spaces, child entertainment, and more. Additionally, librarians are available to answer questions, troubleshoot technology, help with the research process, and make referrals to other locations on campus. Ultimately, all that’s required of students to access these resources is to visit the DVC library building or explore their website.