The James E. Walker Library on campus is easily one of the best university libraries in Tennessee. It has four floors of everything you could possibly need. From help writing that final essay to a 3D printer, the library has it all. Allow me to break down exactly what that word “all” entails. Because there’s a lot.
Study Heaven + Reservable Private Study Rooms
First, and probably the most obvious, Walker Library is a great place to study. If the first floor is too crowded, you could easily find a quiet corner on the third or fourth floors. If that doesn’t do it for you, then don’t worry! If you visit the library’s website, you can reserve your own private study room for up to three hours. I highly recommend this. I spent many hours in those study rooms last semester when I had an in-person class and a Zoom class directly after. All of the reservable rooms come equipped with a table, computer, and whiteboard for those strenuous calculus equations. I must note that they are NOT soundproof, so I wouldn’t advise using these rooms for a loud phone conversation or blasting music. These rooms are a great way to focus and get productive.
The Infamous Writing Center
If you haven’t heard about the University Writing Center by now, I’m truly surprised. MTSU heavily promotes this resource, and rightfully so! This is a fantastic resource to have on a college campus, especially if you struggle with written communication. The Writing Center is located on the third floor of the library. They work with ALL students at any writing skill level to improve their writing. It doesn’t matter if you’re an undergraduate freshman who’s never written an essay or a graduate student working on your first novel. The University Writing Center does it all! Interacting with the University Writing Center can be the difference between you getting a C or a B+ on a final essay. I could go on and on about this resource. It’s fantastic.
Library Textbook Program
The library textbook program started a few years ago. It’s a program that checks out textbooks (mostly gen-ed, or programs that have 500+ students) for free. When you check out one of these textbooks, you have access to it for three hours. So, you can check out the book, read whatever chapter you need to read, and then be prepared for your next class.
Free Computer Use + FREE PRINTING
In addition to nearly 1,000,000 books and another 800,000 books online, the library is home to about 500 computers. These computers are, of course, free for students to use and are all connected to B&W/color printing. Printing is completely FREE and UNLIMITED so don’t stress about how you’re going to print out your 10-page paper.
Free Laptop Access
So, let’s face it—life happens. Sometimes life means your car breaks down when you’re already running late. Or, sometimes, life means your laptop decides it doesn’t want to work out of anywhere. You don’t have time to run down to a shop to get it fixed, so what can you do? Well, Walker Library offers a service that allows MTSU students to check out a laptop for up to three days at a time. You can also check out a laptop if you get to the library and all of those 500 computers are occupied. All you have to do is go over to tech services on the first floor.
The Walker Library spends millions of dollars a year on online resources. They have around 500 databases. Those numbers can be a little intimidating. But the reference desk on the first floor can help you with finding the right resources you’ll need to properly execute that project or paper you have due. The reference desk can also be contacted online.
Due to the pandemic (ew, gross), most tutoring is held online over Zoom. But it is possible that some tutoring will be held at the Tutoring Spot on the first floor of the library. The Tutoring Spot puts you with actual students who have been in the same course you’re having trouble with. These students aced the course and work with the professors to provide you with easy, accessible, effective tutoring. The Tutoring Spot wants to set you up for success as much as possible.
Located on the third floor, Curriculum Collection is a working school library. All of the basic things that come to mind when you think about what a school library is can be found here. It’s books galore for shelves as far as the eye can see, all sorted into the Dewey Decimal System. Here’s where you check out the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time.
I saved, in my opinion, the most ground-breaking resource for last. The MakerSpace is, in a word, incredible. I have never heard of anything like it on a college campus. What is it? Well, it’s essentially a one-stop-shop for anything that sounds high-tech. I’m talking robotics, electronics, sewing (bring your own fabric), computers, software, laser etchers, button-making, virtual reality, and 3D printing of all things. How cool is that? Any student on campus can 3D print for FREE. Anyone working in the MakerSpace is fully trained and can help with anything you might need. To use any equipment in the MakerSpace, all you have to do is take an hour-long training session. You can be any student in any major to use it. Amazing!
As I write about these resources at the library, I’m reminded just how lucky we are as a school to be back in person. I can’t wait to use some of these resources to my advantage. I hope you’re feeling the same way on the other side of the screen. The James E. Walker Library is a campus gem. The staff is, without a doubt, committed to student success. Welcome back to campus, Raiders. Here’s to a great in-person semester!
Author Nicole Alexander is currently an undergraduate student in the Recording Industry Program in the College of Media and Entertainment.