FAQs for Lafayette Students

Below are answers to some questions that are frequently asked by students at Lafayette. If your question isn't answered here, please contact a librarian at 610-330-5155 or refdesk@lafayette.edu.

24 Hours

When is Skillman open 24 hours a day?
Skillman Library is open 24/6 the last week of classes and the week of final exams. A current Lafayette ID is required to be in the Library between the hours of 11:00 PM and 8:00 AM. More >>

Borrowing materials

For how long may I borrow materials?
Students may borrow books for 28 days and renew them twice if they have not been requested by another borrower. Honors candidates may borrow books related to their research for an academic year. Videos and DVDs circulate for seven days and may be renewed once for three days.

Can I renew my books and DVDs over the web?
Yes. You may use a feature in the Library Catalog to renew the materials you have checked out from Skillman and Kirby. From the Catalog home page, select "Renew Your Items" from the right-hand column and log in using your Network ID and password (or your name and your barcode number). Note that you will not be able to renew an item if someone else has placed a hold on it, if you have already reached the renewal limit for the item or if it's too soon to renew it. To renew materials borrowed via interlibrary loan, log on to the interlibrary loan system and select the option to "View/Renew checked out items."

How can I get a book that's checked out?
If you need a book that is checked out, you may have it recalled by placing a recall request at the Circulation Desk or by sending an email request to circ@lafayette.edu. The person who has the book will be asked to return it, and you will be notified when it is back in the library. You may also request a copy from another library using interlibrary loan, which is often quicker than waiting for someone at Lafayette to return the book.

May I use my Lafayette ID to borrow materials from other libraries?
With a valid Lafayette ID, students may borrow materials in person from any member library in the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (Cedar Crest, DeSales, Lehigh, Moravian, and Muhlenberg).

Call numbers

Where can I find this call number?
Click the location link in the item's library catalog record to see where a particular book is located. Most items with Library of Congress call numbers (those that begin with letters) are on the upper level of Skillman. Items with Dewey call numbers (those that begin with numbers) are on the lower level. More information, including a map, can be found on Skillman's call numbers and locations page.

Where can I find the art/biology/etc. section?
Skillman Library uses both the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress (LC) classifications to assign call numbers to materials. This means that there are probably books on your subject on both the top floor, where the LC books are located, and on the bottom floor, where the Dewey books are located. Consult our page on call numbers for a guide to which call numbers match up with which subject areas or try a keyword or subject search in the Library Catalog to find the call number areas where most of the books on your topic are located.

Where's the fiction section?
Skillman doesn't have a fiction section per se. Works of fiction are interfiled with books of literary criticism. If you're searching for a particular novel or works by a particular author, try a title or author search in the Library Catalog. If you'd like to browse the shelves for some recent works of fiction, try looking in our Browsing Collection (on the main floor, in the current periodicals room) in the PR and PS call number ranges.

Digital cameras (and other equipment)

Where do I go to borrow a digital camera/video camera/etc.?
Digital still cameras, digital video camcorders, wireless microphones, external hard drives, and headphones may be borrowed at the Skillman Circulation Desk. Loan periods for the equipment range from four hours to two days.

The Library does not have projectors for loan. See below.

Electronic resources

Does the Library have e-books?
Yes, we have e-books from a number of publishers and vendors. Information about our e-books is in the Library Catalog. If you would like to search across a general collection of academic e-books, try our subscription to ebrary Academic Complete. The Library also has Kindle Fire E-readers preloaded with some popular titles that may be borrowed from the Circulation Desk.

Can I download books from ebrary?
Yes, but you must have registered for a free ebrary personal account. More >>

Can I access the Library's electronic resources from off campus?
Yes. To log in to subscription resources from off campus, connect to the resource using a link from the Library's web site or catalog, then log in with your Network ID and password (the same credentials you use for email). More >>

How can I use Lafayette's WebBridge in Google Scholar when I'm off campus?
To see WebBridge when you're using Google Scholar off campus, configure your "Library Links" preferences for Lafayette College. More >>


Is there a fax machine in the Library that I can use?
No. The Reprographic Service Center in the basement of Marquis Hall has a fax machine that students may use for a small fee. If the subject of your fax is closely related to Lafayette, you can try asking the appropriate administrative office if they can help out.

Several web sites allow you to send faxes for free; some allow you to receive them too (via email); and some offer tiered free/fee services. Free sending is available through faxZERO. A Google search for free fax turns up several other possibilities.

Honors Theses

Can I see honors theses written by Lafayette students in past years?
Yes. Honors theses are kept in Special Collections and College Archives on the second floor of Skillman Library. Special Collections is open 10:00-noon and 1:00-5:00 or by appointment (610.330.5148), Monday through Friday.

Information about the honors theses in Special Collections is available in the Library Catalog. Search by author, title, or, for a list of theses written in a certain department, perform a keyword search for Lafayette and thesis and [department name], e.g. Lafayette and thesis and chemistry.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

How long does it take to get something from interlibrary loan?
The time it takes for ILL materials to arrive varies with the difficulty of the request, the proximity of the lending library, and the material type. Book requests that can be filled from Lehigh Valley schools arrive in several working days, while more involved requests can take several weeks. Journal articles are typically delivered within a day or two, but that can vary as well. Keep in mind that requests submitted Friday through Sunday most likely won't get processed until Monday, which will add to the time it takes to obtain the materials.

How can I renew my interlibrary loan materials?
To renew materials borrowed via interlibrary loan, log on to the interlibrary loan system and select the option to "View/Renew checked out items."


How do I get a job in the Library?
See Student Jobs in the Lafayette College Libraries for information and a link to the application form.

Journals and journal articles

Where are the journals?
Recent paper copies of periodicals are kept in the current periodicals room on the main floor. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Older paper copies of magazines and journals are bound into book-like form and shelved by call number. They are interfiled with the book collection, not shelved in a special area. Electronic periodicals are available from links in the Library Catalog. Microfilm and microfiche are housed in cabinets in the microform area on the lower level.

Why can't I access the full-text of the article I want?
Some electronic indexes, like Academic Search Premier, contain many full-text articles. Others, such as EconLit and PsycInfo, only contain citations and/or abstracts. However, the Lafayette Libraries may still have access to the full-text article, either electronically or in print. When using an electronic index, click the WebBridge button (usually near the top or bottom of the screen) to determine whether the article you want is available through Lafayette. For more help, consult our guide to using WebBridge or our guide to finding articles.

I am being asked to pay for the article I want. Do I have to?
No. First, you want to confirm whether the Lafayette Libraries subscribe to the journal in which your article is published. Our subscriptions are available to you at no cost. Do a journal title search in the Library Catalog to see whether we subscribe to the journal and for which years. If we don't subscribe or we don't subscribe to the year that you need, place an Interlibrary Loan request at no charge.


Are there laptops I can borrow?
There are PC and Mac laptops available for use in Skillman and Kirby Libraries. All have wireless capabilities and are configured to print. To borrow a laptop, present your Lafayette ID at the Circulation Desk. The loan period for all laptops is three hours. Laptops are for use inside the libraries only—they may not be borrowed for use outside of Skillman or Kirby.

Can I use my own laptop in the library?
Yes. There are power and data connections in many locations throughout the Library that you can use with your own laptop. Data connections require the standard network cable used throughout campus; if you don't have a network cable you may check one out at the Circulation Desk. For wireless access, see 'Wireless' below.

Late fees

Will I be charged—and how much—if I bring materials back late?
If you forget to return a book, the circulation department will send you email reminders. After a grace period of one week from the due date, a fine of $0.25 per day will accrue. Reserve books are fined at a rate of $2.00 for the first hour overdue, then $0.25 for each hour after that. If a book is not returned after a fourth notice, the circulation department assumes it is lost and a replacement fee is assessed (usually the cost of the book plus a processing and billing fee).

DVDs and videos are fined at a rate of $0.25 per day.


Where are the microfilm/microfiche readers?
Microfilm and microfiche readers are available on the ground floor of Skillman, to the left as you go down the main staircase.

Can I make copies from microfilm/microfiche?
Yes, the microform readers allow you to make copies at no charge or save copies to your network drive.


Where are the newspapers?
Skillman Library subscribes to daily, weekly, and monthly newspapers in several languages. These are found in the current periodicals room on the main floor of the Library. Most newspapers are kept for one month before they are discarded. Newspapers available online can be found by doing a journal title search in the Library Catalog to see whether we have access to the newspaper and for which years.

New York Times

Does the Library provide access to the New York Times web site?
The Library provides electronic access to the content of the New York Times via LexisNexis and the New York Times historical backfile, but does not provide access to the New York Times web site itself. All users may access up to 10 articles a month on the New York Times' site before being prompted to pay for an article. If you need to use more than 10 articles, you can uses the passes that Student Government has purchased. To do so, visit NYTimes.com/passes and use your lafayette.edu email address to log on. Once you log on, you will have full access to the website for 24 hours. (Note that Student Government only purchased a set number of subscriptions. If the allotted number of 'seats' is filled, you will not be able to log on until a seat becomes available.) Students who wish to subscribe to the web site can take advantage of an educational discount: https://myaccount.nytimes.com/verification/education.


I forget my network/email/Moodle password. What should I do?
If you've forgotten your password and have registered an alternate email with the college, you can reset your password using the Network ID Password Change Utility. If you've never registered an alternate email, contact the ITS help desk at 610-330-5506 for assistance resetting your password.


Where's the copy machine?
Photocopiers are in Skillman 134 (to the left as you walk in the building).

Do you have a color photocopier?
No. Color copies can be made at the Reprographic Service Center in the basement of Marquis Hall.


Is there a place where I can practice a presentation?
You may practice presentations in Skillman 003 and 004, which are equipped with the same control panels and software found in the electronic classrooms on campus. Simply connect a laptop to the projection equipment using the connector available in the room. (The connector in the room requires that your laptop have a VGA port. If you're using a Mac laptop without a VGA port, you may borrow a special connector from the Skillman circulation desk; note that this connector works with some MacBooks only.) If you need a laptop, you may borrow one at the circulation desk.

May I / do I need to make a reservation to use 003 or 004 for practicing presentations?
The rooms are available on a walk-in basis only. Reservations are not accepted.


How much does printing cost?
Printing is currently free. In order to keep printing free, Library printers should not be used to make multiple copies of fliers, handouts, posters, etc. Such copies can be made at the Reprographic Service Center in the basement of Marquis Hall.

Can I print double-sided on the Library printers?
Yes. All printing in Skillman defaults to duplex. If you need to print single-sided, see the instructions near the printers or ask for help.

Can I use my own paper in the Library printers?
No—doing so messes things up for other people trying to print. The Reprographic Service Center in the basement of Marquis Hall will print materials onto special paper (either your own or stock that you buy from them) for $.05 per page.

I printed something from a Library laptop. Where did it print?
The Library's laptops are configured to print to the printer in the photocopy room.

Can I print from my own laptop to the library's printers?
No. The Library's printers are intended to service the 100 or so computers in the Library and are not intended for campus-wide printing.

Is there a color printer in the Library?
No. Reprographic Services in Marquis can print documents in color. Submission forms and price guides are available at http://reprographics.lafayette.edu/printing/.

Is there a place where I can print a poster?
Poster printers are available in three departments: civil engineering (prints 36 inches; contact Becky Rosenbauer), psychology (prints 44 inches; contact Yvonne Osmun), and geology (48 inches; contact John Wilson).

"Processed" books

The Library Catalog says the book I want is being processed. What does that mean?
Items being processed are physically in the Library but are waiting for call numbers and other details to be assigned by Technical Services. If you need an item that is being processed, it can usually be obtained within 24 hours. Fill out the online form that is linked from the item's record in the Catalog or ask at the Reference Desk.


Does the Library have an LCD projector that I can borrow?
No, but there are projectors available through the Scheduling Office that can be used in rooms on campus that aren't equipped with technology. Contact the Scheduling Office at 610-330-5077.


My professor put something on reserve. Where can I find it?
Faculty members frequently put course readings, solutions to problem sets, videos, and other materials on reserve at Skillman or Kirby Libraries. To obtain these reserve materials, use the Course Reserves options in the Library Catalog to obtain the call number, then present the call number and your Lafayette ID at the Circulation Desk. Reserves normally may be borrowed for two hours. Most items are available for overnight loan beginning one hour before the closing of the Library and due back a half hour after the Library opens the following day.

Reserving Rooms

Can I reserve a study room?
No. Study rooms on the ground and second floors of Skillman Library are available on a walk-in basis only.

Saved searches

How can I prepare saved searches to run in the Library Catalog?
You can save searches in the Library Catalog and have them run automatically on a regular basis by using the "save search to preferred searches" feature. More >>

How can I prepare saved searches and alerts to run in Web of Science?
By creating a personal profile in Web of Science, you can receive automatic notification whenever articles of interest are cited in a new article or when new articles on a particular topic, by a particular author, or published within a particular journal are added to the database. For details, see Web of Science's brief video tutorials on Creating Citation Alerts and Saving Your Search and Creating Alerts.


Is there a scanner that I can use?
All of the Macs in the ITech Lab as well as the PCs in the Itech Studio (outside the ITech offices) are equipped with scanners and software for manipulating scanned images.


Is Mathematica / SPSS / etc. available on the Library PCs?
For a complete list of software available on computers in Skillman (and in campus labs), consult ITS' lab software list.

St. Martin's Handbook

Does the Library have a copy of St. Martin's Handbook?
Yes, Skillman Library has two copies of the most recent edition on the shelves behind the Reference Desk and several copies of earlier editions upstairs in the circulating collection. The call number for all copies is PE1112 .L86.

Storage and Annex materials

The Library Catalog says the book I want is in Storage or in the Annex. What does that mean?
Items with the location "Storage" are in Skillman Library; they can be retrieved for immediate use by requesting them at the Skillman Circulation Desk. Items with the location "Annex" are housed in a remote storage facility. To obtain these materials, click the "Request from Annex" link that appears on the right side of the screen in the item's record in the Library catalog. Materials requested from the Annex will be available within 24 hours of placing the request, Monday through Friday.


Does the Library have the textbook for my class?
The Lafayette Libraries do not own the textbooks for every class taught on campus. To see whether we have the specific textbook that you are looking for, do a title search in the Library Catalog for the name of the textbook. (If you don't know the title or author of your course text, check the Find Your Textbooks tool on the College Store's web site.)

Videos and DVDs

Where can I watch VHS videotapes?
There are TV/VCR units on the lower level of the Library. Headphones for use with these units may be borrowed at the Circulation Desk.

Where can I watch a DVD in the Library?
You may use any of the PCs or Macs in the Library to watch a DVD, although you may find the Macs in the ITech Media Lab best suited for this purpose since they have larger screens. Headphones may be borrowed at the Circulation Desk.

The Library doesn't have the movie I want to see. Will you get it for me?
You can make recommendations for additions to the Library collections using the Suggest items for purchase link on the Library web site.


How do I access the wireless network in Skillman or Kirby?
For details on connecting, see Connecting to the Wireless Network on the ITS Website.