Cedarville University’s library has been the #1 resource that has gotten me through my time as a student. From the myriad of resources and services they offer, to their employment and academic opportunities, the Centennial Library supports students in their pursuit of a rigorous and God-honoring education. Though I’ve recently graduated from the University, I’m blessed to have been part of such a valuable part of campus as a library student worker, as well as excited to serve in a new capacity on staff as the digital services assistant for the library with Cedarville’s Digital Commons.
My Experience at Centennial Library
Week 1 of my time at Cedarville, I integrated myself at the library as much as I could. I went to the Getting Started week library orientation and learned about the resources offered. I set up a meeting with Julie Deardorff, the director of the Collection Services department of the library and founder of the Library Careers Program. I attended the Library Careers Dinner, an annual information dinner for anyone with an interest, no matter how slight, in library service.
My second semester I worked as a student assistant in Circulation, helping faculty, staff, and students at the Service Desk. I eventually became a shift leader and took part in both the library internship and independent study courses that Centennial offers. I was able to explore the different areas of library science and get hands-on experience with many projects.
The community of the library is spectacular, both as a student and as a library worker. Studying with friends in the upper level and collaborating together in study rooms are some of my favorite memories of my undergraduate experience. Likewise, behind the desk, as a student worker, I met so many new friends among my fellow employees and enjoyed getting to know other students as I helped them find resources.
While Centennial Library might show its 36 years in its décor, our resources are sufficiently modernized to match student need. The artwork might still be from the 1980s, but our collection of books, media, and other items are continually updated to serve our campus. Students can study together or on their own into the late hours of the evening, thanks to the collaboration of student staff, non-student staff, and faculty. In addition to our physical collections both in the main area and in the Curriculum Materials Center, the library offers other helpful services and resources for research and study.
- Research appointments with librarians with experience in your field of study
- Real-time chat through our website where you can ask reference questions
- Group and individual study rooms, reservable at any time
- Diverse crafting and technological resources in our MediaPLEX, including a 3D printer
- Holds for items you want to borrow but can’t immediately come to pick up
- Student employment in multiple departments
- Book sales every semester!
Reserves (in-library use items)
- Copies of textbooks/media for classes (search for your class materials either by course or instructor)
- Portable whiteboards and dry-erase markers
- Battery packs and assorted charging cords
- Boxes of skeletons (for extra practice before a nursing exam!)
- Headphones, CD/DVD players, and much more
- E-books, especially for general education and Bible minor classes
- Access to journals and databases for every major/discipline
- Research guides for individual classes
- Citation & bibliography page help
- OhioLINK, SearchOhio, & InterLibrary Loan (expands the print and electronic resources available to students by borrowing from other libraries)
- Cedarville University’s Digital Commons
I’ve found that the hardest part of my job is probably explaining it to other people! The most common response is “What’s the Digital Commons? Is that like an archive?”
Yes and no! Digital Commons (DC) is an online repository. While Cedarville’s DC houses a lot of digitized content from our physical archives, we also publish a lot of new material — much of which comes from our student body.
Ways Students Contribute to the Digital Commons:
- Contributing articles/creative pieces for journals like Musical Offerings, Channels, and The Cedarville Review
- Conducting a lecture or creating a poster for the Scholars Symposium
- Competing as a student athlete
- Featuring in local/national news for projects or community service
- Writing or performing a stellar capstone for your major/minor
- Submitting to The ‘Ville in Focus, a yearly photo contest run by the Centennial Library
- Sharing a smile for the Freshman Student Body picture!
In addition to giving students the opportunity to add some published works to their resumé, Digital Commons offers resources for classes and research projects. Thanks to our growing publishing branch, Cedrus Press, the newest book for our physical education class, A Christian Guide to Body Stewardship, Diet and Exercise, is available both in print in our library as well as online. The DC hosts over 60,000 scholarly works published by faculty, staff, students, and alumni, on many different topics.
But while Cedarville students may not be aware of all the benefits to using Digital Commons, we still have quite a wide readership. Our platform reaches worldwide, with articles or other media being downloaded all across the globe! The best part of my job is knowing that I can help reach people throughout the world with thoughtful and God-honoring content produced by my Cedarville community.
My experience as a student worker at the library prepared me well for my newest job on staff as digital services assistant. I help prepare materials for publication by entering metadata into submission forms and uploading them to the proper places on the DC website. I’ve been able to get to know the campus better by working with different facets of publications—athletics, archives, public relations, and academics, to name a few.
And if my position tells you anything, it’s that Digital Commons is not as scary to navigate as it may look. Although I have had no formal education with technology systems, I’ve been learning the “behind the scenes” of the repository without any major hiccups so far. It may take a little time to become familiar, but it yields a treasure trove of both past and present knowledge. My top recommendation from our modern publications is The Faithful Reader, a collection of essays meditating on the biblical themes in literature, edited by Dr. Justin Lyons. Or, from the depths of the DC’s archives, I’d suggest perusing old promotional media, or even catalogs, if you’re looking for a laugh: Cedarville’s first annual catalog advertises the college is “entirely free from malaria” as well as the “curse of saloons,” which I’m happy to report, is still the case!
My biggest piece of advice on how to use the library to its fullest potential is to explore! If you don’t know what you’re looking for, ask questions. At the library, we are here to equip you to succeed. Not knowing something is not failure — it’s an opportunity. There is a lot of information to wade through in college and in life, but you don’t need to feel like you’re drowning. The library offers resources to help you save on time, energy, and money to ensure all of your 1,000 days help you flourish!
Major & Year: English, class of 2022
Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 17:15
Favorite Class at CU: Centennial Library Internship