Frequently Asked Questions
Library Policies and Procedures
- When is the library open?
See this month’s schedule or call 508.531.1749 for the most current information.
- Who may use the library?
The Library is open to the public. Free borrowing privileges are extended to students, faculty, and staff of Bridgewater State University; BSU alumni; Bridgewater town residents; students and faculty of other Massachusetts State institutes of higher education as well as those from Stonehill and Wheaton; and teachers from southeastern Massachusetts. Other Massachusetts residents may purchase a library card. For further information on borrowing privileges, see the Circulation Department.
- How do I obtain a username and password?
- Part-time faculty, librarians, staff, and administrators may request an account by filling out the form found at Information Technology Account Request Form.
- Those not affiliated with the University may request a guest password at the Reference desk on the first floor of Maxwell Library. Guest accounts expire at the end of the day they are issued and may be used on any public workstation in the building. Please be aware that guest accounts are available for your use 15 minutes after the Library opens. The Library stops distributing guest accounts 30 minutes before closing.
- May guests obtain wireless access?
For guest wireless access please visit the BSU Wireless Guest Access web page.
- Where is the library’s catalog?
- How can I get a copy card?
Your BSU Connect Card functions as a copy card. You can add value to it at the Campus Center, the East Campus Commons, or the Library. Guests may purchase a copy card from the kiosk near the photocopiers on the first floor. Please note that the card costs $1.00 with no value. Value must be added to the card after purchase.
- How can I get a library card?
For BSU affiliates, your Connect Card is your library card. For other users please see “Borrowing Privileges” listed under the Circulation Department.
- The book that I need is checked out. How can I get it?
If a book is already charged out to a patron, you may place a "hold" on it by using Webster, Maxwell Library’s online catalog. From the search screen, once the book you want is displayed, click on “Place a hold" on the right side of the screen and enter your Connect Card number and last name to login. Once logged in, you can place a hold on that book. Upon its return, you will be notified, and the book will be held at the Circulation Desk for you. Additionally, you can search the Commonwealth Catalog. Enter your Connect card number and last name to search. The Commonwealth Catalog will indicate which libraries in the area have the book you need and allow you to request it online.
- According to Webster, the book I want has been checked out since 1999. How can I get this book?
- Webster says that the book I want is available, but it’s not on the shelf. How can I find it?
A patron may request that a “trace" be placed on material designated as “available” in Webster but not found in the stacks; ask at the Circulation Desk for details.
- My professor has books on reserve. How do I get them?
Certain library materials in frequent demand are placed on reserve at the Circulation Desk for restricted circulation. Consult the Reserves page for further information.
- What are microfilm and microfiche? Can I print them out?
Microfilm and microfiche are forms of publication also called microform. They are available for machine reading in room L124 and can be printed out.
- Can I suggest books I think the library should buy?
Yes. You can fill out the online Library Book/Video Purchase Request Form.
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Locating Materials and Conducting Research
- Where are the encyclopedias and dictionaries?
Many encyclopedias and dictionaries are available online. From the Library homepage, under Research Help, click Research Tools, at the next screen you will see a heading for Encyclopedias and Dictionaries, or, under General Topics, select Credo Reference or Gale Virtual Reference Library. Print encyclopedias are located at the beginning of the Reference Shelves, first floor. More specialized subject encyclopedias are usually shelved by call number elsewhere on the Reference Shelves; do subject keywords search on Webster to see current holdings. Consult Webster for locations of specific dictionaries or encyclopedias. Print encyclopedias and dictionaries in the discipline of education can be found on the second floor on the reference shelves of the Educational Resource Center.
- What floor is this book on?
Books are shelved according to their call number; see the location guide for more details.
- Where are your handouts on writing bibliographies in MLA style (or APA, or Turabian)?
See the online Bibliographic Style Guides.
- How can I find information about a particular company?
There are a number of databases and websites where you can find this information. Begin with the Business and Industry Sources MaxGuide and consult a Reference Librarian if you need further assistance.
- How can I find literary criticism?
There are several places to find literary criticism including books and databases. Begin with the Literary Criticism MaxGuide and consult a Reference Librarian if you need further assistance.
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Locating Places in the Library
- Where is the Center for International Engagement?
The Center for International Engagement is located on the third floor of the library, Room 330. It includes the Director of Global Studies, Study Abroad, International Programs, and International Relations.
- Where is the International Programs office?
The office is located on the third floor in the Center for International Engagement.
- Where is the College of Humanities and Social Sciences?
The offices are located on the first floor, near the main entrance.
- Where is a photocopier I can use?
First floor: Copy Center and Printing (around the corner from the staircase). Photocopiers work only with a Connect card. Guests may purchase at card at the kiosk next to the photocopier machines. Copy cards cost $1.00 and have no value. Value must be added after purchase.
- Where is the Heritage Room / MDR Room?
Both are located on the first floor, Maxwell Library.
- Where is the Library Lecture Hall?
Ground floor of Maxwell Library.
- My professor has an office in the library, but I don’t know where it is.
- Where are the offices for the Graduate School?
Ground floor, adjacent to the Park Avenue entrance. From inside the library, go into the lobby, turn right at the first corridor, and turn right at the end of the hall. The Graduate School offices should be right in front of you.
- Where are the restrooms?
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- Where are the periodicals shelved?
Current and bound periodicals—scholarly journals, magazines, newsletters, and others—are shelved alphabetically by title on the first floor. There is also a small selection of children’s/young adult and curriculum-oriented periodicals in the Educational Resource Center on the second floor.
- Can I check periodicals out?
Periodicals do not circulate: they cannot be checked out.
- What are scholarly journals? How do I find a scholarly journal article on my topic?
Scholarly journals can be distinguished from other periodicals in that:
- Articles are usually written by faculty members or other academicians, discussing topics of recent research;
- The journals themselves are usually edited by faculty members or other academicians;
- Most likely, the articles provide footnotes and/or bibliographic citations;
- The journals are normally printed on regular (not glossy) paper.
If you have questions on whether a periodical fits the title of “scholarly journal,” consult a Reference Librarian.
To find articles on a particular topic, begin by consulting one of the MaxGuides for the discipline or subject you are interested in.
- I can’t get this article through Document Delivery because the library has it in “full text.” What does that mean?
Most electronic databases available in the library’s research area contain at least some full text of articles from periodicals. If the article you’re looking for appears in one of these periodicals, you will be able to print out a copy of the article on the library’s laser printer. On the Library homepage, please click Journals A to Z and type in the journal title in the search box to see which database has the journal you want available in full-text format. The article may also be available in print, in which case the periodical is located on the first floor of the library.
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Electronic Databases and Library Technology
- When I use the library databases from off-campus, do I need to log in?
When you click on the database link from the library’s Databases A to Z list, you will be prompted for login immediately. At this point, you will need to enter your BSU username and password in the spaces provided and click “submit.” You only need to do this once before you close your Web browser.
- How can I get help with the computers in the library?
For help, please see a Reference Librarian. For some technical issues, they may redirect you to the IT Help Desk.
- I’m doing a subject search in Webster, but I can’t find anything. Does this mean the library has nothing on my topic?
Not necessarily. Some hints on finding material on a given topic:
- First, check your spelling, and leave out all punctuation.
- Do a keyword (“all fields”) search using your search terms or phrases.
- Occasionally, doing a title search on terms used to describe your topic will provide useful results when a subject search does not help. The regular title search in Webster is actually a title phrase keyword search. To search for a specific title do a “Title ( Beginning With)” search.
- If you are doing an advanced search or more than one term make sure to choose “and” from the drop-down menu.
- Remember, Webster will tell you what books and periodicals the library has on a given topic, but will not say anything about whether the library has periodical articles on a topic. Periodical articles may be more relevant for your topic than books; consult a Reference Librarian for assistance.
- I got this printout from the database. How do I find the articles? (Does the library subscribe to all of the periodicals listed on my printout from the database?)
- Some databases will note whether or not Maxwell Library has the title, if not, your database printout will indicate what source your article comes from. Look for the abbreviations “SO:” or “JN:”, which indicate the source or journal title, respectively. Once you find the source of your article, you’ll then have to check whether Maxwell Library subscribes to that particular title. Go to the link from the Library homepage that says “Journals A to Z.” Select the tab that says “Search” and type the name of the journal you need. The database will indicate if Maxwell Library subscribes to the journal, and the format (print, microfilm, or electronic). The library doesn’t subscribe to all of the periodicals you may find listed on your database printout, so you may request items not available at the Maxwell Library via Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Services. Login is required. Many databases also provide links to the article if available in another database. Look for the Linksource icon or the note “Find full-text” on your citation for more information.
- Also note: Sometimes your printouts from Maxwell Library’s databases will refer you to books, book chapters, and dissertations in addition to periodical articles. To see whether Maxwell Library owns a book or book chapter, check Webster for the book title (NOT the chapter title). For dissertations (other than masters’ theses from BSU), consult ILL/Document Delivery.
- Where can I access the ERIC database?
The ERIC database can be accessed from computers anywhere on or off-campus. Click on the “Find Articles in Databases” link on the library homepage and select it from the drop down menu.
- Where in the library can I type my paper? Read e-mail?
Most PCs on the first, second, and third floors of the library have word processing and telecommunications software installed as well as other software applications.
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- How do I get a BSU username and password?
Full time faculty and librarians should contact the BSU Human Resources Department for assistance in setting up a new user account.
Part-time faculty, librarians, staff, and administrators may request an account by filling out the Information Technology Account Request Form.
- Can I get off-campus access to the databases?
Yes. When you access one of the databases from off-campus, you will be directed to a login page requesting your BSU username and password.
- What do I need to check out books?
You need a BSU Connect card. You can obtain one at the Connect Card office in Hunt Hall.
- For how long can I check out a book?
Faculty may check out up to 50 items for four months. For more information see the Circulation web page.
- How do I use Document Delivery (Interlibrary loan)?
To request books or journal articles that Maxwell Library does not own, go to the library’s InterLibrary Loan system web page, login and fill out the online request form accordingly. You will be notified when the materials come in.
- How do I schedule library instruction for my class?
Contact the Reference desk at x1394 or fill out the Library Instruction Request Form.
- How do I put items on reserve for my class?
Please see our Course Reserves webpage regarding reserve policies or contact the circulation department at x1392.
- How do I request streaming video for my students?
Fill out the MAX Video Streaming Request Form. Please see “notes” at the bottom of the form for additional information.
- Can I photocopy non-circulating materials for my classes?
Yes, faculty can use the staff photocopier behind the circulation desk to make copies of non-circulating materials
- Who is my department liaison?
See list of Library Liaisons.
- How can I suggest an addition to the collection?
Fill out the online Library Book/Video Purchase Request Form.
- Can I check out non-circulating materials?
Occasionally faculty may check out reference material for a short-term loan period. Ask at the Reference Desk. Faculty may also, at the discretion of the periodicals department, check out periodicals for short-term loan.
- How can I link library resources into Blackboard?
Most records can be linked into your course management software by copying and pasting the “permalink” URL (in Ebsco databases) or the “Bookmark URL” (in Gale databases). For linking articles from other databases, please ask a librarian for assistance. Any article in PDF format can be saved to a file and then linked into Blackboard or Moodle.
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