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Life Hacks for Using the ISU Library

For new and experienced library users: learn how to get the most out of a visit to your library, including tips for finding the right librarian and ways to get in touch.

Ways to get in touch

Once you've decided to work with a librarian, the next step is to get in touch. A common misconception is that librarians are extremely busy and asking them questions is somehow bothering them or wasting their time. While it's true librarians are as busy as anyone else these days, and may not be in their office if you drop by unexpectedly, be aware that by reaching out or asking a question you are making a librarian's day.

decorative imageEmail

You can always start by sending an email to the librarian you want to work with! This is a great way to start when you aren't sure if you really need a lengthy consultation to get an answer to your question, if you don't have time for a meeting, if you're not on campus, or even if you just don't love face-to-face meetings. Just make sure you include enough information to help the librarian help you!

decorative imageMake an appointment

Many librarians use an automated appointment scheduler. This tool lets you pick a date and time, and then add your meeting directly onto their calendar--no awkward emails required! You can find each librarian's appointment scheduler link on the Find Your Librarian page. If the librarian doesn't use an appointment scheduler, the link will point you to their email address. (You can also find this link on many research and course guides, and in some other places.)

When you click the Make an Appointment link for a librarian, you'll be taken to the appointment scheduler. From here you'll be able to select the date you want to meet and choose from any available times on that date.

Appointment scheduler

Click "continue" and fill out the form that appears. Each librarian can customize this form, so it will look different depending on who you are scheduling an appointment with. At minimum, you'll be asked to provide your name and email address, plus an optional description of the purpose for the meeting. This is where you would briefly describe your project or question.

Watch out for locations!

Some librarians have in-person meetings in Parks Library or elsewhere on campus. Others prefer online meetings via Webex or Zoom. Some offer both options! If you had the option to choose a meeting location as part of the scheduling process, make sure to remember which option you chose. If you didn't have an option, make sure to pay attention to where the meeting will occur if it is not virtual.

decorative imagePhone

It's also perfectly acceptable to call a librarian to ask a question or schedule an appointment. Office phone numbers for librarians can be found on the Find Your Librarian page.

Have a question? ISU librarians are always available to help!
Read the guide to learn who to contact and how!