The David L. Rice Library elegantly overlooks campus, its main entrance beckoning to those in the Quad. Although not as eye-catching or iconic as The Cone, the Rice Library stands out as one of the most notable buildings on campus. The Rice Library is so fundamental to campus life that it takes up a significant portion of the background image on the MyUSI login screen, where every student and faculty member must consult it daily.
For new or returning students, some of the Rice Library’s benefits, tools, and resources may not be obvious. Let it be a guided tour where you can discover the countless resources that are available to each student. There may be an essential tool or service you missed.
The library’s lower basement houses a wide selection of classrooms. The main lobby is located above this level and acts as a covered walkway between the library itself, Starbucks and the Jazz Lounge. The Jazz Lounge is a popular place for students to enjoy Starbucks refreshments or hang out between daily obligations.
Once you enter the library through its automatic doors, it’s like stepping into a whole other building.
The first story is the main area. Visitors are greeted by the reception desk to the left of the entrance. “Check in at Library Services, which is located just inside the main library entrance. said Marna Hostetler, director of the library. “If you are a student working specifically on an assignment, I would highlight the research consultations that are available, either in person or virtually.”
At the reception, you can consult books and electronic resources, such as tablets, computers, chargers, Apple pencils, headphones, etc. The most popular items to check out are the sets of markers for use on the whiteboards on each floor.
You can also pick up interlibrary loan books here, one of the library’s many hidden gems. Students can log in online to access The interlibrary loan program, which lets you request a book or journal that the library might not have. Libraries across the country will lend these resources physically and digitally to USI so you can keep reading without paying a dime.
Students can also register for library services here and schedule appointments with research librarians who can help research work, find those pesky references for your paper or project. Shane White, librarian of the Romain College of Business and Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education, Kate Sherrill, librarian of the College of Liberal Arts, and Laura Bernhardt, librarian of the College of Nursing and Health professions, are librarians that students can get help from.
“Shane, Kate and Laura are more than happy to have one-on-one research consultations with any student who needs them,” said Becca Neel, Associate Director of Resource Management and User Experience. “We give instructions and attend full classes and teach students how to do things, but a lot of people benefit from that one-on-one interaction.”
The first floor also accommodates an area where one can print and make physical or electronic copies. A “highlight” wall on the opposite side changes with different themes that will recommend a selection of books or movies relating to that theme.
On the left side of this large room, past the reception desk, is the DVD collection. When trying to find movies that aren’t available online, the Library is your best bet. The collection includes a wealth of classics and a significant collection of documentaries that have only been released on DVD. You can also find CDs and children’s literature available on loan. At the very back are several computer labs, perfect for groups or classes of any size.
The right side of the main room contains relaxation areas and computer areas for students to study or have downtime between classes. It also has a diverse collection of fiction books and graphic novels for all to read. There’s even a table with a community puzzle, perfect for study breaks.
For a more studious option on the first level, there is space in the middle of the room for group projects. Whiteboards and TVs are also available for brainstorming ideas and presentation exercises.
While the first floor is a general living room with a decent collection of curated reading material, the second floor is where the library takes things to the next level, pun intended.
Located in the center of the second floor is a space dedicated to microform. The Microform section is a huge collection of archived journals from decades of publication. It comes with an easy-to-use scanner that lets you manually search through reels of old newspaper columns.
If you have spare time, I strongly suggest you try The Microform Section for fun.
The most notable feature of the third level is the university archives. The archive room contains works of cultural and local significance that cannot leave the section. Though they can’t praise anything, the archivists welcome any exploration of his sacred tomes of knowledge.
“So people think librarians are like introverts, right?” said Neel. “Our archivists are like the extroverts of the library. They have all kinds of really interesting information to share, lots of unique articles.
The archive includes a special selection titled “Please Touch!” The selection includes books by authors who reside or have resided in southern Indiana and books that have been banned for radical ideas.
The Archives also has a common study reading room where small groups can come and do readings of a more obscure nature. There are several displays in the main section of the Archives that look straight out of a museum. Objects change often and many of them display significance to Evansville’s history
The second and fourth floors have unique reading rooms on two floors in the rotunda, where students can find a strictly silent and very spacious study space.
Each floor has study rooms that can be reserved or simply used on site. Study rooms vary depending on your specific needs. Some have computers, others have large conference-style tables. A study room on the first floor even has a keyboard to practice your piano skills. Almost all study rooms have whiteboards and provide a quieter and more private study space.
All floors have printers and loanable reading materials, from popular novelties and textbooks to magazines and non-fiction texts in all areas. Stop by reception for help finding what you need.
However, many of the library’s best resources are available online.
On the library’s webpage, you can find over 20,000 documents and images that catalog USI’s history, articles relating to Evansville, and historical aspects of the Midwest region. It’s an impressive and important set of information that’s all kept in one convenient location that you can access.
In addition to the digital archives, the archives of the Rice Library website contains a wide selection of tools and benefits that can bring even more information to students. This includes a massive electronic database that contains countless resources including journals, articles, books, or any other type of information that you can use for research. If the library doesn’t have something you need, you can recommend that they buy it.
“Information is changing,” Neel said. “How we adapt the information. How we access information. Things like that change, and so we put a lot of emphasis on our tech cases. Books don’t circulate as much as they used to, but we’re used a lot on things like laptops that can circulate and hotspots because that’s the form of information and access to information that people have need at that time.
“I encourage everyone to open an interlibrary loan account,” Neel said. “This will allow us to request electronic items. So if you’re in a database, or if you’re on the Internet, and there’s something you want to access that you can’t access, then we can get it to you for free from a other university. It usually takes 24-48 business hours, sometimes faster, and we can just provide you with an electronic version.
Whether you need course resources, personal entertainment, space to study, or even a place to clear your head and hang out, Rice Library is the perfect stop for anyone on campus. Don’t be afraid to ask librarians or assistants for help. They are always more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
“It’s our greatest resource, the people and librarians who work with students,” Hostetler said.
Just bring your student card and take full advantage of this monumental building.