This week on The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer we’ve invited Kresge Engineering Librarian Lisa Ngo to tell us more about the library and what resources it offers to UC Berkeley students. Make sure you check out the links below to reserve study room space, find out about library workshops and the library catalog – where you can find resources that are available online or for physical checkout.
- Kresge Engineering Library
- Engineering Library Services
- Study Room Reservations
- Library Workshops
- Research Help
- Library Catalog
LAURA VOGT: Hi! My name is Laura Vogt and I’m the Communications and Events Manager for Engineering Student Services and the host of your podcast The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer and this semester I want to focus on some of the resources that we have that you might not have started using last semester but we definitely want to make sure that you’re not forgetting about them. As we get into your second semester of your first year or even if you’re a continuing student making sure that you know about all of our resources and today we’ve got Lisa Ngo from the Kresge Engineering Library which is our engineering library. Lisa tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for the University.
LISA NGO: Sure, thanks for having me. My name’s Lisa and I’m one of the Engineering Librarians at the Kresge Engineering Library. We have two other engineering librarians one of whom is named Anna Sackmann and the other one is Brian Quigley.
LV: Can you give us just an overall view of the engineering library and what it does for our students?
LN: The engineering library is the primary library that serves the kind of research and instruction needs for the College of Engineering. Most of the students that come to the engineering library are engineering students but we also get a variety of other students and we have books and services.
LV: We’re going to talk a little bit about that. How do students use the library? Is there anything special that they have to do or a library card that they need?
LN: No your Cal 1 ID card is your library card and then you can use your Cal 1 ID and passphrase to get logged into all of our online resources.
LV: Let’s talk a little bit about those online resources. What do you have that students are able to get online?
LN: We have, I can’t even count them. We have thousands and thousands and thousands of e-books. So you know you can access these books 24/7, anytime, anywhere you are. We also have things that you might not expect that the library would have. So we have streaming video, streaming documentaries, streaming music, and then we also have lots of textbooks that you can check out. We try to purchase all the textbooks, for all of the classes, so that we have them available. If students don’t want to buy them.
LV: Oh that’s a really nice service to be able to do. I know those textbooks can get expensive.
LN: Yes, they can.
LV: If a student wants to go into the library, what are they getting if they go to that actual physical space of the library?
LN: We’re one of the most popular libraries on campus and one of the reasons for that is we have five study rooms that are reserved. You can reserve them using the reservation system on the engineering library’s website. Each room comes with a screen that you can plug in your laptop to and a whiteboard. And they’re really popular for students to do group work. Students come in and do interviews there. They do webinars. So they are really, really popular rooms. We also have some drop-in rooms if you don’t have the foresight to reserve a room or if you can’t get a reservation because they’re so popular. And then we also have some board games. If you’re just kind of killing time in between classes and you need to take your mind off things. And we also have a nap pods. So if you’re really tired and you need to just get a nap in between classes or because your roommates are being too loud the night before. We’ve got for nap pods that are in a very quiet area in the library for you to take advantage of.
LV: The study rooms that you have for a reserve, about how many students fit in there?
LN: There three or four of them probably fit up to about 10 students and then we have one that’s a little bit bigger that fits about 15 or so.
LV: That should definitely take care of any of your group work means or anything like that that you need to do.
LN: Yes definitely.
LV: You’ve also got tons of tables and stuff to just hang out in there and have a quiet space to study in general.
LN: I can’t say that we’re the quietest library on campus. Students do you really love working together in groups. But we do have some quiet areas with individual study areas, so if you needed a quieter area to study, you usually can find something in the library, but generally we are a little bit louder.
LV: What if you didn’t need necessarily a book? Do you have other lending programs of non-book items that students could get?
LN: Yes. So in addition to the books, e-books, and textbooks – our really popular programs are the laptop lendings. You can borrow a MacBook that runs either Windows or the Apple operating system and then we also have presentation kits, we have chargers for your cell phones. We lend out calculators and starting this semester we’re going to start lending out noise canceling headphones, so that if you really need a quiet space you can kind of get that and while you’re still in the library.
LV: Do you know about how long those lending terms usually are?
LN: They vary. Laptops go out usually for about four hours but it depends on where you’re checking out the laptop from and then everything else kind of varies depending on what you’re checking out. I should also add that you can check any of those in the library catalog it’s called OSKICat and oskicat.berkeley.edu or you can get to it from the library’s website. You can look up all of those devices and it gives you the checkout lending times for how long you can have an item.
LV: I’ll make sure that I have all the links on our welcomengineer.berkeley.edu site as well. So if you’re finding us through that website, you’re going to find all of these links there for you. What do you hear student stories about what they like about the library?
LN: The students always tell us they love being able to to come to a space where everybody is welcome. Anybody can come in. You don’t need to show an I.D. to get into our library and you know mostly they run into their other students. So it’s just kind of a a place for them to meet up with people to see classmates but then also to kind of study quietly if they just need a space to themselves.
LV: I know you have some really good hours that you’re available. There is a lot of time for these students to come in. Can you tell me a little bit more about your hours?
LN: We are open until midnight most days of the week and then over the weekends our hours are shortened a little bit. And so that really actually compliments the hours of the rest of the libraries on campus pretty well. Moffett library on campus is the one that’s open the longest they’re open 24 hours a day, five days a week, and then we are open like until 9pm for most weekends. During finals, we’re open even longer, so students can stay for a little bit longer during finals. Because those hours kind of vary a little bit, we always recommend that people check our website beforehand, so that they can see what the hours are going to be for the day that they want to come.
LV: In order to have those hours I know that you probably have a lot of student workers.
LN: Yes, the library is one of the biggest employers of students on campus, and so we hire a lot of student workers. We love having our students come work for us too. So if you’re interested in working for the library you can stop by either Engineering or Doe library and we have a board that we have library jobs posted and you can check out which ones you might be interested in.
LV: Do you know if students have to be work study in order to get those jobs?
LN: Most of them do but there are definitely also positions that require special skills that where work study is exempt. So just check the job board and see and it’s not just for the engineering library. You can work at any of the libraries on campus interested.
LV: You have a pretty good, I assume, a pretty good working relationship with all the other libraries on campus like you’re all kind of one big family.
LN: Yeah. We have we have a huge library system. We have 20 plus subject libraries that are around campus and the library provides so much more than just books and e-books. So you can go to an Environmental Design Library and learn about artists books. If you’re preparing for an interview you can go to the Business Library and get all the information about companies and industries and then really get to know the company that you’re trying to apply for and who their competitors are. If you want to learn more about the state of California, the history, we have really rich archives at the Bancroft Library. If you want to see these amazing maps that we have, routes from around the world, different kinds of maps – the Earth Sciences has a maps library that is amazing. So there’s just there’s so much to explore in the library system outside of your engineering world to learn and to bring that knowledge back into your life and into your studies. It’s really fantastic. It’s a great resource.
LV: What if a student just has questions about trying to figure out where to find things or what’s the best way for them to get this information that they need? How do they do that in the library? What’s the best way for them to get help?
LN: They can always come and see me. That’s my job. That’s what I’m here for. I’m totally here to help you out with whatever you need and to try to help you find your way or to find the resources that you might need for whatever topic you’re trying to do research on. I’m here as well as the other librarians, Anna Sackman and Brian Quigley. We’re usually here Monday through Friday. Just stop by the office and we’re always happy to just chat and say hi.
LV: We’ve got some new students that haven’t been to the library yet. Do you have an easy way for them to try to find you?
LN: We are on the first floor of Bechtel Engineering Center. We did used to have a lot of problems with people finding where the library was, but we actually have a big sandwich board outside our engineering library. Just look for the Green board on the first floor of the Bechtel Engineering Center.
LV: There are some doors that you have to go through and then there’s this awesome spiral sculpture right outside of it. If you know where 230 Bechtel is for Engineering Student Services…
LN: We’re right downstairs from 230. Exactly.
LV: Is there anything else you wanted to tell us about the library that we missed today or something that you want to share that you think makes it this really important resource that we have on site on campus?
LN: I just wanted to say that the library is so much more than just the engineering library. The University library has the big Doe, Moffitt complex but then we also have more than 20 subject libraries spread all around campus. Each library has its own character, its own flavor and it’s kind of a fun scavenger hunt if you want to go and find all the different libraries on campus and visit them all. And then in addition to that you think of the library as not just your second home away from your dorm because we’re so welcoming, but also we’re not just there for your classroom or your textbook. We’re there to help you kind of learn about anything that you might want to learn about even outside of your subject area. So you can go to the East Asian library and kind of get different language texts. The libraries just have so many different collections. The Bancroft has archives. It’s really you know each library is really different. And I really encourage you to go check all of them out.
LV: One of the things I just learned about that I didn’t know is you could do is check out artwork.
LN: Yes, there’s a graphic arts loan collection inside Doe. You can browse their collection online.
You can check out artwork for your dorm or your apartment. You get it all semester and they’ve got some really, really great works in there that is such a great way to like spruce up your dorm room or your apartment for a short period of time.
LV: You can check out different styles.
LN: Yeah. Or if you’re just trying to impress a date for a week you can show you have taste.
LV: Well thank you so much for coming in today I really appreciate you coming in and sharing this awesome resource that we have for students.
LN: Yeah. And you know please come by the Library say Hi we’re always always happy to chat.
LV: Well thank you Lisa so much for coming in today and talking about the library and thank you everyone for tuning in to The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer.