Oberlin Blogs

His Name is Mudd: An Insider's Guide to Using the Library

November 2, 2013

Margaret Saunders ’16

Happy November, Obies! We've made it through midterms, slept through Fall Break, and now we can begin the final push toward the end of first semester. As finals rear their ugly head, you may find yourself growing increasingly tired of dividing your study time between your room and your lounge. Slow Train will be packed, DeCafe will be full, and good luck trying to find an empty table in the Science Center. So why not journey to a place that always has plenty of room? Welcome to Mudd Library.

I started working at the Mudd circulation desk this fall and I've learned plenty of things about the library that I never knew last year. So without further ado, here's some tips and tricks to get the most out of Mudd before the end of 2013--in alphabetical order, of course!

AV Department

Lights, camera, action--you can rent all of the equipment to make a movie happen from the Audio/Visual collection on the fourth floor! They also stock plenty of cables, wires, and computer accessories for presentations and screening. However, they don't have the same hours as the rest of Mudd, so make sure you get there before they close.


Most people flock to Azariah's for coffee and TA meetings, but there are plenty of other surprises in Mudd's café. Azariah's hosts a selection of new fiction books (some of the only fiction available in the library), daily newspapers, and a wide variety of magazines, journals, and writing compilations. You can read the Sunday comics or camp out with your laptop in a booth, and if you haven't tried their strawberry smoothies, treat yourself.


Those desks scattered throughout the second and third floors? You may have seen students crouched in them, studying away, or you may have even plopped down and used one yourself. But beware: if someone comes along and points out that their name is written on the green slips of the books stacked on the carrel's shelf, you've trespassed on their turf. Carrels are spaces students reserve for the semester to hold their library materials, and though there may not be anything in the carrel to mark it as taken, any carrel can belong to another student.

Want one of your very own? Ask to sign up for a study carrel at the circulation desk on the first floor. I can assure you that there are still plenty left, and that I don't regret having to drag eight books back to my dorm every time I have a paper to work on.

CIT Help desk

Computer or printer troubles? Bring them to the CIT Help Desk for assistance! It's located right in the middle of the first floor and is staffed by students seven days a week. There's also the CIT office near the cluster of blue chairs near the Reading Girl statue, and the Technology Store in the basement. Plus with the library's desktops at your disposal on the first floor and basement (A-level), you should have your computer issues sorted before you need to print that big thesis.


Want to make your free print account last longer? Use the copier to scan books or papers and email them as pdf's or other files right to your email, free of charge. Step-by-step instructions on how to send email through the copiers are printed out right above them. If you're still having copier trouble, come to the circulation desk for help.

DVD collection

We all have those days: you've done all your homework, written another page for your final, and even glanced over the study guide for next week's test, and if you do any more work you might collapse. Why not relax with a good movie? Mudd has a collection of over 10,000 dvd's available for rent. Don't think they're all educational: I know firsthand that we own both Skyfall and every single season of Friends. Just search for the title you want and bring the call number to the circulation desk. Most library dvd's have a loan period of two days, so why resort to a low-quality torrent?

Group study rooms

It can be hard to gather together for a serious study session in the midst of the hullaboo on the first floor. Get away from the noise by reserving a study room (spread along the walls of the first floor) and you have a great space to get together with friends and prep for that big test. You can reserve a study room on the library website here, but be aware that all reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.


Left your Macbook at home and all the desktops are taken? Rent a laptop from the circulation desk: you can keep it for up to four hours, and charger and case are included if you want to take it on the go. We have a small number of PC's as well! If you want something even more portable, you can also rent an iPad for a three-day period. Laptops are some of the most popular items in the library, so make sure you get one while you can!

Reserve collection

There are some professors who are great, and there are some professors who are saint-like beings who put their course textbooks in the reserve collection and save all of us money. Before you invest in a brand-new hundred-dollar volume you'll only use for four months, check to see if we have it in our reserve collection. You can have the book for a 3-hour period, perfect for homework sessions.

The Writing Center

Not everyone is born a fantastic thesis-writer. If you're having trouble with any assignment or just want another pair of eyes to check your grammar, head to the Writing Center on the first floor (across from Azariah's). They're staffed from 7 pm to 11 pm every weekday and come highly recommended!

Still can't find what you're looking for?

The circulation desk at Mudd is always staffed from opening to close, every day of the week, and we're happy to help you in any way we can! The library is your friend, and you can be a friend of the library

Responses to this Entry

Great source of info, Margaret! (But I'm not sure what you mean in saying that the new books in Azariah's are "some of the only fiction available in the library"--actually, there are thousands and thousands of works of fiction in the stacks.)

Posted by: David on November 2, 2013 8:13 PM

Protip: sometimes there are movies on reserve too (like for cinema studies classes) and you have to watch them in the library. If you don't want your friends to be super jealous that your homework is watching a movie while you hang out in the academic commons, consider the viewing station on the second floor — it's a tiny room right beyond the couches on the second floor as you head west in Mudd. It's also one of the only spots on campus where you can GUARANTEED find a VHS player... though you can only watch alone or with one other person, because there's only two sets of headphones.

Also also if you need InDesign or Final Cut or any other fancy multimedia programs, you can visit the Multimedia Area in the west corner of the first floor. Don't forget to bring your own hard drive, though, because those computers are wiped at 3am like alll the others in the library, too.

Posted by: Ma'ayan on November 4, 2013 3:15 PM

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