Simple Library Tips and Tricks

Victoria (Torrie) Raish is the Penn State World Campus online learning librarian. She has curated several tips and tricks for helping you make the most of your library experience this semester.

Accessing library resources in Canvas

The vast majority of your courses in Canvas will have a library resources tab on the left-hand menu, which gives you access to three key resources provided by the libraries:

The first of these is E-Reserves, indicating any material that your instructor has placed directly in the course for you. Many professors do this to provide access to materials that would otherwise cost a fee to access. You might notice two tabs in E-Reserves. The first is E-Books and the second is E-Reserves. The E-Book tab provides access to one or more of the required books in your class. The books are provided to you at no cost.

The E-Reserves tab provides direct access to single articles or book chapters.

The second part of the library resources tab is Library Guides. It provides information and resources to help you navigate and learn to use different parts of the library. Most of the guides in your course will be subject guides. These provide you with helpful databases and relevant resources to use in your subject.

The third part of the tab is the Ask-A-Librarian button that functions the same as the Ask-A-Librarian button on the library website. It connects you to a live chat or monitored email to answer any library or research questions you may have.

Requesting materials

Students from all over the world have access to our vast collection of library materials. Penn State has a top 10 research library, with many resources available to you as a Penn State World Campus student. Here are some important details about requesting materials from the library:

  1. If you live outside of the United States or Canada, we’re currently unable to ship materials to you (except 3D prints). We do provide electronic access to much of our materials. I have created videos to help Penn State World Campus students learn how to change their address and request materials either physically or electronically.
  2. Penn State Libraries pays for the shipping cost of physical resources, but you are currently responsible for the return shipping fees. If this is a limitation, you can request electronic access to the part of the book you need.

Getting help from librarians

Guides are a great way to start using the library. However, it can be nice to know that humans are here to help you whenever you need it. We have a few different ways to help all students.

You can get to know a little more about librarians by watching this video. I highly recommend that you use our Ask-A-Librarian service. This is a live chat staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT during the school year, with extra hours covered through email monitoring. An example question for Ask-A-Librarian might be “I was able to find this journal article yesterday, but I can’t seem to find it today. Can you help?”

If you need help in more detail with research, it is a good idea to make a research consultation request. With these research requests, we can “meet” over the phone or via a video conference. I also enjoy getting direct questions from students using either my email at or my direct phone number at 814-865-0148.