Top 5 things to know about…what the library can do for you

Discover all the wonderful ways that the OU Library can help you with your studies.


With a new academic year underway, you may be wondering what kind of support is out there to help you to make the most of your studies. The Library is here with resources, services and expertise available to the whole OU community.

A person is sitting at a desk, typing on an open laptop computer. There are shelves of books in the background.Photo owned by The Open University Library

Here’s our top 5 highlights on the helpful things we can do for you.

1. World-class resources

With access to thousands of ebooks, online scholarly journals and newspapers, archival sources full of treasures to explore as well as image databases and more, there really is something for everyone. Browse our subject area collections to see what is available to support your area of study.

2. Online training

Our librarians regularly run live, interactive online training sessions on library research and digital literacy skills. Some of our popular sessions include: The why and how of referencing, Using Library Search for assignment, and Introduction to Library Services.

Recordings of all the sessions are available, as well as a range of online activities, which are designed to allow those who are unable to attend the live training to learn the same skills as those who attend.

Students tell us that they find these sessions useful, and their value is backed up with our research, which has found a correlation between participation in library training and better results. Across the university, 37% of students who attended a live session and 34% who watched a recording of one of these library training sessions gained a distinction at the end of their module.

Check out our training offerings to see what is on now and to find links to the recorded sessions and online activities.

3. Referencing guidance

Referencing is the process of acknowledging the sources you have used in writing your essay, assignment, or other piece of work. Poor referencing is a common way for students to lose marks in assignments, so it is worth taking the time and effort to learn how to reference correctly. The process can seem daunting at first, but the Library has plenty of help and support guidance on how to keep track of and reference the information you find to avoid plagiarism. There are guides featuring lots of examples of how to cite different items and helpful tutorials you can watch any time, and our Helpdesk team will be on hand to help if you need any further support.

4. Disability support

We are committed to ensuring our library services are accessible for all our users and provide a range of specialised services to help those who are studying with a disability. Services include converting inaccessible articles and book chapters, support for literature searching, and SensusAccess – which enables you to convert material into a more accessible format, for example PDF to text, audio, Word or Braille. You can contact the Library Helpdesk to discuss your specific requirements or if you have any accessibility suggestions. 

5. 24/7 help

Whether you are a lark or a night owl, the Library Helpdesk offers live online help through our 24-hour chat service available 7 days a week. Need to find an article? Question about what keywords to use in your search? Discovered something Google can’t answer? Let a librarian help! Any time, day or night, the OU Library is here for you.


The Library Services website is your gateway to a wide range of online information resources. 

You can use it to find out more about the Library, search our extensive online collection of Library resources (including eBooks, journals, databases and more), and explore our programme of live online training sessions that are available to all OU students and staff. Or indeed, come and speak with us at the Helpdesk: we look forward to it. And keep up to date with us by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.


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