Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Quick Answers: Research Help


We created this guide for our Information Desk student workers & peer supervisors to help answer any reference or library questions you may encounter. The guide will also be useful for anyone with a library or research question. We're here to help!

Libraries are for everyone

Who You Gonna Call?

  • Is it an emergency? Call campus security - x8888
  • Is it a computer or network problem? Call the GTS helpline - x6111
  • Need help with writing or citation? Try the Writing Center
  • Have a question for a tutor in a particular area? The Academic Support Center has a list.
  • Need help with research? Librarians can meet with you on the fly or by appointment.


Common Questions

Search our catalog by author, title, or topic. The location and call number tells where it's shelved:

  • General collection books are either upstairs (if the call number starts with A-PQ) or on the main floor (call numbers starting PR-Z). 
  • Children's and YA (downstairs, at the back)
  • Reference (main floor, along the Beck side)
  • Oversized (upstairs, in the far back corner)
  • Government Documents (mostly links to websites; some paper copies downstairs, along the Beck side)
  • Hasselquist (on the shelves in the room in the middle of the main floor)
  • Music scores (upstairs, front corner by Beck)

You can also consult our page about how to locate items on the shelf.

Or consult this guide for an in-depth discussion of how books are produced, housed, and used.

Try one of these all-purpose databases (listed below) or check out our research guides to search for databases appropriate for specific subjects.

You can also click here to learn much more about how scholarly articles are produced, reviewed, and used in research.

 Search our catalog to find out if we have a specific DVD. They are shelved by call number downstairs, near the front stairwell. Some may be kept on reserve at the Front Desk.

A primary source is a historical document, such as a diary, memoir, a work of art, a news account published when an event was fresh - something from the historical period under examination. To find them, see our Guide to Primary Sources.

Use Interlibrary Loan. We also have a guide to walk you through how to track down hard copies of sources

Scholarly articles typically are formal, pose a new theory or report original research, are written by scholars or scientists, and include citations. This guide from the North Carolina State Libraries has more information on the anatomy of a scholarly article.  

In many databases you can limit a search to academic journals or peer-reviewed articles.

When you click on a database, you will be prompted to log in with your Gustavus username and password.

If it doesn't work, call the main desk (x7558) for help.

We don't have a public photocopier. Instead, use the scanners on the counter outside the e-classroom. These send a PDF to your email account. Just type in your email address, lift the top of the scanner, position the original (make it flush against the upper right-hand corner), and press the green button.

Making multiple-page PDFs takes extra steps. After typing in your email address, select OPTIONS and find JOB BUILD. Once that's turned on it will add scanned pages until you hit FINISH.

If a scanner isn't working, turn it off and on again. It takes a few minutes for them to restart.

Check out our quick guides or get links to online guides or visit the Writing Center.

A copy of the Everyday Writer and the official MLA, APA, and Chicago style manuals are kept on the Ready Reference shelf near the elevator.


You can reserve a room in the library for a small group meeting or a class here. The single-user rooms at the back are first come-first served.

Follow these instructions from GTS. If it doesn't work, call the helpline at x6111.

Guests who don't have Gustavus accounts can purchase a printing card at the library information desk. These are kept in a drawer in the counter near the administration desk along with instruction sheets about how to use them.

We have a tutorial you can use to learn more about how to do research well. We also occasionally offer a .5 credit course  - NDL301, Information Fluency. Finally, if you are considering a career as a librarian or archivist, ask a librarian about the possibility of doing an internship or browse our guide.

Not-So-Common Questions

A primary science article is written by scientists to report the results of new research. These usually tell you where the authors work, have an abstract or summary, a methods section, results, and references to related research.

Search a science database (check the Research Guides by subject) and use the find it button to see which ones are available in full text. 

Quick tip for biology: search PMC - all of the articles in this database are full text and most of them are primary science articles.

We do get occasional questions about trees. Use these guides below, which are in the Reference Collection. And be sure to visit our guide to finding information about trees.

You can search the catalog for the subject "monologues" or simply go to the upper level and browse the PN 2080 call number area.

The library doesn't routinely add textbooks to our collection (they cost too much and go out of date so quickly!) but you can find some general biology books, including older textbooks, by searching our catalog and browsing the QH section of shelves. There are also reference works across the aisle in the Reference - QH section that will have definitions. There is also a basic Principles of Biology textbook on the course reserve shelves.

Also, these free open access textbooks are available online.


Concepts of Biology


And these books are available through the EBSCO ebook library, though may be electronically "checked out" - only one person at a time can use it.

Biology and the Riddle of Life

Biology Demystified 

In databases, you can usually limit a search to a particular journal by putting the journal title in one search field and selecting from the drop-down list beside the search box SO - Source (in EBSCO databases) or Publication title - PUB (in ProQuest databases). Then you can search within that journal by adding another search term.

If these options aren't visible, try clicking on Advanced Search.

Where in the library can I find . . .

Bathrooms are on all three floors, along the east wall (chapel side) between the stairs and the windows/carrels.

Most of our journals are electronic, but some still come on paper. They are shelved by magazine or journal title and can be found in one of three places:

  • Most recent issue of a small number of popular magazines are on the main floor near the front door.
  • Current issues of other print magazines and journals are on the lower level, in the center, near the elevator.
  • Older issues on the lower level starting on the chapel side and ending in the middle toward the back.

On the upper level on larger shelves in the southwest corner (near Olin, Beck side of the library).

Main level, along the west wall (Beck side), Our Research Guides can recommend reference books for different subjects.

Lower level, at the back (Olin side). YA books are in a separate section in the same area.

These are books kept on the wooden shelves in the study room in the middle of the main level.

Shelved by call number on the upper level, northwest corner (near Beck).

Books on reserve and AV materials (DVDs, etc) are kept behind the circulation desk. 

AV I and II are on the lower level, in the northeast corner closest to the student union.

The Library Conference Room is near the front doors, just past the information desk.

Rooms 101, 201, and 301 are round rooms in the southeast corner of all three floors (chapel side, at the back); 107, 207, and 307 are in the opposite corner in the back.

The College and Church Archives are upstairs, just above the Circulation Desk.

Librarians offices are on all three floors.

  • Jeff is upstairs in the archives
  • Anna, Michelle, and Rachel are in the main floor staff area, behind circulation.
  • Dan and Julie are on the lower level, inside the periodicals & documents office.

There's a place to fill water bottles on the wall near the bathrooms on all three floors.

Drinking fountains are located at the back on all three floors, half-hidden behind wooden panel/bulletin boards..

The Kurzweil 3000 (a machine that helps you listen to printed texts) is located in room 103c - on the lower level at the back, closer to the chapel than to Beck Hall. More about accessibility.

The upper level (third floor) is designated as a quiet floor.

These are at the circulation desk. There's a paper cutter near the computer cluster close to the printers.

We don't have a public photocopier, but the scanners on the counter just outside the e-classroom make PDFs that are emailed to you and then can be printed. Just type in your email address, lift the top of the scanner, position the original (make it flush with the upper right corner), and press the green button.

Making multiple-page PDFs takes extra steps. After typing in your email address, select OPTIONS and find JOB BUILD. Once that's turned on it will add scanned pages until you hit FINISH.

Sometimes you need to turn them off and on again if they aren't working. It takes a few minutes for them to restart.

Romeo and Juliet are on the counter just outside the e-classroom on the main floor.

A color printer is next to that counter.

LibraryBI2 printer is at the back of the main floor toward the chapel side.

There are printers at the back of the first floor (lower level) and the third floor (upper level) toward the chapel side.

Contact a Librarian

Whenever you or someone you're helping has a research questions & you're not sure how to proceed, don't hesitate to get in contact with a librarian! We're here to help. Answering research questions is why we're here. 

There are many ways to connect with a librarian. Our Ask Us page has links to an online appointment form, as well as information about reference desk hours for drop-in appointments. Otherwise you can simply email any of the librarians below - feel free to pick one.

While we do work with specific areas, we tend to consult with each other about questions, so don't worry about finding the "right" librarian for your question.


Rachel Flynn | x7429
office: main floor, staff area


Julie Gilbert | x7552
office: lower level, facing Beck

Anna Hulseberg | x7566
office hours: main floor, staff area


Jeff Jenson | x7572
office hours: upper level, archives


Dan Mollner
​ | x7569
office: lower level, facing Beck


Michelle Twait | x756
office: main floor, library administration

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License