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Celebrating New Students, New Services, and a New School Year at the Penn Libraries

Posted on by Rebecca Ortenberg

Autumn is always a time of transition, and this year heading “back to school” took on new significance following three semesters that were largely focused on virtual teaching, research, and learning.

Over the course of two jam-packed days of New Student Orientation, library staff met with over 300 students and their family members and shared just some of what the Libraries has to offer, from serene study spaces to textbooks, and from rare archival materials to reservable musical instruments. 

For students who were unable to visit us during NSO--and even for those who did, but think they might need a refresher--the Libraries has created a virtual guide. Find out about library locations across campus, hear from subject specialists, and get a specially-curated collection of links that is sure to help get the school year off on the right foot.

Keep reading to learn about new services and resources--and some old favorites--that we hope will help connect library users with the materials and expertise they need.

A woman wearing a face mask stands with her hands stretched out in front of her, playing the theremin
Liza Vick, head of the Albrecht Music Library and Ormandy Music and Media Center, plays the theremin at the New Student Orientation Libraries Showcase.
Meescan kiosks and app
Want to check out books all by yourself? Now there’s an app for that! Available for download on iOs and Android, the Penn Libraries new meescan app allows patrons to check out books with a scan and a swipe. Meescan self-checkout kiosks are also available around the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center and in additional select library locations. While library staff are happy to help check out books, this new option is perfect for those who prefer a non-contact option or who want to check out materials when the circulation desk is not being staffed.
Self-serve lockers
The Libraries new Luxer One lockers are great for night owls and those who prefer a completely no-contact way to check out materials. Patrons should use the Franklin catalog’s new “Get It” button to put materials on reserve and select "Van Pelt Lockers." You will receive an email when your reserved materials are ready to be collected from the lockers located in the Undergraduate Study Center. Pick them up anytime the library building is open, no human interaction required!
College House delivery
We get it, some days you just don’t want to walk all the way to the library! For those who live off-campus, the Libraries is continuing to offer our popular Books By Mail service, which allows patrons to get materials shipped anywhere in the United States. On top of that, the Libraries have instituted a new College House Delivery service for students who live on campus. Much like Books by Mail, users will need to register ahead of time with the name of their College House. Then select College House Delivery when checking out from the Franklin catalog. Materials will be delivered to a cart outside the College House business office.   

The Penn Libraries has plenty else to offer as well. Here are just some of the other ways that library staff can help students throughout the academic career:

Study in one of our 14 library locations
Love natural light and sweeping architecture? Study in the Fisher Fine Arts Library. Looking for a quiet nook to write in? Visit the Penn Museum Library. Need access to specialized business databases? Head to the Lippincott Library. Check out our full list of library spaces and places on the Libraries website.
Contact subject specialists
It's never too soon to contact one of the Penn Libraries' fifty subject specialists, who are excited to share all our collections have to offer. They are available to chat over email, talk over the phone or on Zoom, or meet in person. Find the librarians with expertise in your areas of study on the Libraries website.
Borrow equipment
The Penn Libraries has a wide variety of special equipment available for users to borrow. Check out a laptop from locations across campus, use video recording equipment in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, or borrow one of the instruments available at the Eugene Ormandy Music Media Center
Attend an event
Penn Libraries staff host a wide variety of workshops throughout the school year, some online and some in-person. Get study tips, find out how to use specialized databases, learn to use tools like RStudio or Adobe, or even take a wellness break. Keep an eye on our workshops calendar to find out the latest.