Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Welcoming International Students to Smith College Libraries: Asking for Help

This is an introduction to library services for international students at Smith College.

Asking for Help at the Circulation Desk

The Circulation Desk is where you go to check out materials or to pick up materials that you requested from another library.

If something that you need is unavailable because it is missing or someone already has it checked out, ask at the desk and the staff will help you.

If you don't know whether to ask at the Circulation Desk or the Reference Desk, start at the Circulation Desk. They will help you and give you the next step to follow if you need to go elsewhere.

Some people feel more comfortable reading than speaking. Would you rather ask your question by email? If so, write to neilcirc@smith.edu  The staff check email all the time and can answer your questions anytime the library is open.

Asking for Help at Service Desks

Neilson Library is a large and very busy library, so there are 2 main service desks. The Circulation Desk is where you go to check out materials, ask for materials on Reserve, and get help finding things that aren't on the shelf. The Reference Desk is where you go to get help doing research, using the computers, and printing.

The other libraries and most of the collections have a single service point. Hillyer, Josten, and Young have a service desk. You go to there and ask for whatever help you need: reserves, research, and checkout. The Sophia Smith Collection has a reception desk and asks you to sign in.

The desks may look different but all the library staff are eager to help you with whatever questions or problems you might have.

Asking for Help at the Reference Desk

No one will scold you for asking questions. In fact, the library staff are always happy to answer questions about how to find and use library resources, and have provided several different ways for you to ask depending on what method suits your needs and comfort level.

You can come to the Reference Desk and ask your questions. When the reference librarians are not on duty, student assistants will help you as much as they can and refer your questions to a reference librarian who will answer them the next day.

You can send email to the Reference Desk and the first available librarian will answer it.

You can chat online or text during the reference librarians' working hours (Monday to Friday 9-5, and Sunday 1-4 pm)

You can make an appointment to come in and talk face to face to a librarian about your research assignments or library questions.

You can email your liaison librarian directly for help. A librarian is assigned to each department and program to teach classes, order books, and explain library policies. 

Subject Guide

Sharon Domier's picture
Sharon Domier