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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.

Take a break: Quiet spaces & more

You may think of the library as a place to study—and it is! But when you need to take a break, there are options for that, too. The library is home to quiet spaces where you can step away for a quick break or study in peace, collections of fun books to read, and lots of artwork. This page is a brief guide on where and how to find each of these.

decorative image.Spaces

Mindfulness Room

Located on the second floor in the Rotunda near the Periodicals Room, the Mindfulness Room is a quiet space where library visitors may step away from their studies for a few minutes. The focus and purpose of this room is restoration, allowing visitors to clear their mind before returning to their work.

Single user study rooms

Single-user study rooms have a desk, chair, and power outlets for private, distraction-free study. Registered students may reserve these rooms for up to 3 hours. (Only current ISU students may reserve these rooms.)

International Nest

Located in Room 34 in the Lower Level of Parks Library, the International Nest is a dedicated space for international students and those interested in getting to know them. This space features lots of comfortable furniture and includes games, craft supplies, and coloring books.

The International Nest also hosts events. All are welcome to attend events like pizza night or game night at the Nest!

Quiet spaces

The Periodical Room on Floor 2 is a designated Quiet Zone, for users requiring an absolute minimum of noise and distraction. Users are asked to refrain completely from conversations (including cell phone), and no group study is allowed.

The other space in the library where you can find some quiet is the Mindfulness Room. This space is intended for a brief retreat from studying. Users are encouraged to relax and take a few moments to clear their minds.

The rest of the library is considered semi-quiet study area, with conversations allowed as long as voices are kept low. Even though they are not designated Quiet Zones, you can typically find a quiet place to study in the following areas:

  • Tiers 1-7
  • Media Center (Lower Level)
  • Room 32 computer lab (Lower Level)
  • Standards Center (Room 161, Floor 1)

Sensory-friendly spaces

Looking for a place to study that's quiet, uncrowded, or has natural lighting? This page highlights spaces in Parks Library that might meet those needs, including photos.

Family Friendly Room

The Family-Friendly Room (FFR), located on the lower level, is a reservable space with docking stations for ISU-affiliate parents and child-sized furniture, computers with educational software, drawing surfaces, and toys for their children’s use. The children's literature collection is located just down the hall.

decorative image.Library Collections

Leisure collection

While most of the books in Parks Library are geared toward research, we also maintain a collection meant for "recreational" or fun reading: the Leisure Collection. You can easily find books currently in the Leisure Collection by visiting the Fireplace Reading Room on Floor 1, outside Bookends Cafe.

Books that have rotated out of the Leisure Collection typically remain in the General Collection. You can find them by using Quick Search to search for topics you're interested in. Add the term "popular works" to identify books meant for recreational reading!

Fiction & graphic novels

In addition to the Leisure Collection, Parks Library also has a large collection of fiction books. Use Quick Search to search for titles or authors you are interested in, or browse the Lower Level. Books with call numbers beginning with PN-PZ are literature, which includes some popular fiction:

  • PN: Literature (general)
  • PQ: French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese literature
  • PR: English literature
  • PS: American literature
  • PT: German and Scandinavian literature
  • PZ: children's (and YA) literature

There are also some graphic novels and comics in the General Collection at Parks Library. These are not grouped together separately from the other books, so you will need to use Quick Search to find them—chat with a librarian if you need help with this. Ames Public Library also has a relatively large collection of comics and graphic novels, which is separate from the other books and can be easily browsed.

Book displays

Librarians at Parks Library create book displays to highlight materials on popular or timely topics, such as Black History Month, the science behind everyday things, or the ways in which modern technology fosters bias. Book displays are typically located in or near the Fireplace Reading Room on Floor 1. You are more than welcome to check out books that may be on display—we highlight them in this way to encourage visitors to read them!

Ames Public Library Bookmobile

Did you know you can get materials from Ames Public Library right on campus? The APL Bookmobile visits campus every Thursday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, parking right outside Parks Library. You can check out, return, and request items from the Bookmobile—no need to leave campus!

decorative image.Art in and around the library

Parks Library is home to a large art collection. Taking some time to explore the art on each floor can be a nice break from studying.

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