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Bookstores and Libraries

What’s similar between the Vol State bookstore and the library?
What’s the difference between the Vol State bookstore and the library?

Key similarities include:

  • bookstores and libraries both make books available, including textbooks;
  • they both exist to support student learning needs;
  • they both provide you with excellent customer service.

Key differences include:

  • libraries lend resources at no cost to you;
  • bookstores rent or sell resources with a cost to you.
Why are these differences important to understand?

Choose the right location based on the PURPOSE of your information need.

If you need long-term access to the resource, such as a required textbook for your class, then renting it or buying it from the College bookstore makes sense. You’ll be glad to have that resource handy when studying late at night or on a weekend; and, you can mark up your personally-owned, print books with highlighters and margin notes to help you remember key points.

If you need short-term access to the resource, then use the library’s resources for free. These free resources include more than 100 databases (access millions of e-books and online articles) plus more than 40,000 physical items that can be checked out for weekly periods. Too…

  • Thigpen Library does have some of your course textbooks (in library terminology, these are called “course reserves”): these textbooks are made available for short-term, typically 2-hour, check-out periods for in-library use.
  • Unlike personally owned resources, physical library resources are shared by many users so they cannot be highlighted, marked, or otherwise altered.

Were these differences intuitive to you? Great! Hopefully, this information will be helpful to anyone for whom these differences were never explained. We get a lot of bookstore inquiries at the library, so we know “the struggle is real” for some folks.

Never be afraid to ASK Thigpen Library for assistance. We’ll be glad to help you get the information you need, even if it’s the phone number to the Bookstore. Smile.

students are studying in the library

A group of students studying in the library.

Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith
Director of Library Services & Provider of Research Assistance

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