Library Services

Reference and Research services
The Florida Gulf Coast University Library reference & research staff strives to facilitate effective interaction between library clien and recorded information and knowledge.  The Reference Desk is staffed with librarians or trained support staff who can provide general information, reference assistance, referral services, and in-depth research help to all library users.  Staff may guide users to appropriate resources, assist in formulating a research topic, and instruct in selecting and using print and electronic sources of information. In addition to desk assistance, users may also request help via phone at  590-7630 or on-line. The Reference Desk is located on the first floor of the FGCU Library building.
Mission  & Goals

Our service mission is to facilitate access to recorded knowledge, teach information literacy skills, provide research consultation for FGCU affiliates and basic library services to the greater SW Florida community.

Our goals are to:

  • Provide users with professional assistance in identifying, locating, authenticating, and evaluating information sources.
  • Enable users to acquire information literacy skills which support their pursuit of academic goals and knowledge;
  • Enable students to achieve the FGCU student learning outcomes;
  • Enhance the intellectual growth of users by supporting teaching and scholarship endeavors

Reference Desk Schedule

 When classes are in session, services are offered at the Reference Desk,  64 hours during the week, including weekends.
The Reference Collection:

The FGCU Reference Collection  is composed of printed and electronic library materials and resources selected to meet the curriculum, research, and general academic needs of FGCU students, faculty, and staff. The Collection houses a core of items of an academic level commensurate to the needs of a broad-based liberal arts curriculum. Included in the collection are "ready-reference" resources designed to supply quick facts or concise, direct questions.  In general reference materials are not available for borrowing.  Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis with the written approval of a Librarian.

Reference Print Collection:
Descriptions of the basic types of materials found in the Reference Print Collection. 

Almanacs & Yearbooks  

 An almanac is a summary of useful data and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events or subjects. The yearbook is an annual compendium of such data. Both references my be either general, covering a wide breadth of topics, or they may be subject specific. Example: World Almanac and Book of Facts.
Bibliographies  Lists of books, and other resources.  Bibliographies may be subject specific or comprehensive covering a broad area of subjects.  The bibliography may be annotated, providing brief summaries or evaluations of each source cited. Example: Latina and Latino Voices in Literature: Lives and Works.
Biographical works   Information source about people distinguished in some field. Example: Who's Who in America.
Dictionaries Sources of word definitions, spelling, etymology and others aspects of language, arranged in alphabetical order. Both English language and multi-lingual dictionaries are available in the Reference Collection.
Directories   A list of persons or organizations, systematically arranged, usually in alphabetical or classed order, giving addresses, affiliations, etc., for individuals and address, officers, functions and similar data for organizations.
Encyclopedias   Works containing informational articles on all subjects in all fields of knowledge, usually arranged in alphabetical order.  Encyclopedias may be concise, complete in one volume, or extensive, published in large multi-volume sets.  They may be comprehensive such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, or subject specific, such as The Encyclopedia of Education. 
Geographical sources Atlases, maps, gazetteers & guidebooks are all works that provide representations of boundaries of particular areas - countries, continents, cities or even the moon and relevant information.  Atlases are collections of  maps. Gazetteers are geographical dictionaries offering names of places, rivers, mountains and other geographical features and statistical information.  Guidebooks generally provide brief historical information about a particular place but also provide detailed descriptions of hotels, museums, restaurants famous sites and other information useful to travelers. 
Handbooks & Manuals  Handbooks are defined as a miscellaneous group of facts centered on one primary theme or subject area. Example: Occupational Outlook Handbook.  A manual is generally  a "how-to" book designed for a specific field of interest. Example: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Writing style manual).
Indexes & Abstracts -  An index is a work that cites specific pieces of information from a larger work.  Most familiar are periodical indexes that assist users in locating specific articles contained in a journal.  Abstracts provide summaries of the contents of the cited item. Examples: Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. Criminal Justice Abstracts.

Statistical Data 

A collection of numerical facts generally classified and organized in such a way as to allow analysis and interpretation.  Example: Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Reference Electronic Resources
Many of reference print sources are also available electronically.  The Reference staff offers assistance with accessing both print and online resources.  In addition we also offer the following reference resources online.

  1. Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, & More - A general  reference guide to online reference resources including dictionaries, encyclopedias, translation sources, statistical data, search engines, and much more. 
  2. Research Guides - Subject guides developed by FGCU Librarians provide subject headings, reference resources, online databases, journals  and web resources for many disciplines of research.
  3. Full-text  Article databases - Online full-text articles are available at your fingertips. Also a list of journals available online may be accessed through the Library's web site.  (Major Multidisciplinary Databases)
  4. Online indexes and abstracts - Electronic access to scholarly resources that support the academic curriculum. Reference staff assists users in navigating their way through the hundreds of resources available. (Online Databases page) .
Instruction Services

General orientation sessions, known as BLT's (Basic Library Training) are offered at the beginning of each semester by the Reference and Research staff. These sessions are open to all without sign-up or appointment.  Watch for the schedule of sessions on the Library web site. 

Classroom instruction in the use of library resources for specific disciplines is available upon request of the faculty. Faculty may request discipline-specific classroom instruction

Individual research consultations with a subject specialist are available by appointment. Personal assistance may be provided to help users focus on a research topic, instruction in the use of online resources, in-depth introduction to library services, and more. Users seeking personal assistance from a professional librarian may request an appointment using the Schedule a Research Consultation form. 
Research Services and Reference Staff


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