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Overview of Collections & Services

Libraries of the University

The Libraries of the University of Florida form the largest information resource system in the state of Florida. While the collections are extensive, they are not comprehensive and faculty will find it useful to supplement them by drawing upon a variety of library services offered through cooperative library programs. These provide UF's users access to the resources of many other libraries. The following entry describes the U. F. libraries, local collection strengths and the physical distribution of collections among campus libraries as well as the services available to assist faculty in locating needed information.

The libraries of the University of Florida consist of nine libraries. Seven are in the system known as the George A. Smathers Libraries of the University of Florida and two (Health Sciences and Legal Information) are attached to their respective administrative units. All of the libraries serve all of the university's faculty and students, but each has a special mission to be the primary support of specific colleges and degree programs. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of research, scholars may find collections built in one library to serve a specific discipline or constituency to be of great importance to their own research in another discipline. It most likely will be necessary to use more than one library to discover all resources available at the University that are pertinent to a particular research interest.

Location of Collections

As is common in research libraries, library materials are housed in a variety of locations depending upon discipline. The three largest libraries cover an extensive range of disciplines while the smaller libraries focus on three or fewer disciplines:

Collection Strengths

Together the Libraries hold over 4,577,222 cataloged volumes, 8,099,054 microforms, 1,255,459 documents, 867,520 maps and images, 629,979 e-books, 78,797 electronic journals and 356 electronic databases. The libraries have built a number of nationally significant research collections primarily in support of graduate research programs. Among them are collections discussed above, i.e., the Latin American Collection, the Price Library of Judaica, and the Map and Imagery Library. Others include the Baldwin Library of Children's Literature which is among the world's greatest collections of literature for children (Smathers Library, Special Collections); and the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, which is the state's preeminent Floridiana collection, holding the largest collection of Spanish colonial documents concerning southeastern United States in North America as well as rich archives of prominent Florida politicians, (Smathers Library, Special Collections).

The Libraries also have particularly strong holdings in architectural preservation and 18th century American architecture (AFA), late 19th and early 20th century German state documents from 1850-1940, Latin American art and architecture, (AFA and Smathers Library), national bibliographies (Smathers Library, Reference), U.S. Census information, especially in electronic format (Marston Science Library, Documents), the rural sociology of Florida and tropical and subtropical agriculture collections (Marston Science Library), English and American Literature, and U.S. Documents (Marston Science Library, Documents).

Information System

The UF Libraries Catalog, your key to the UF Libraries collections, has been greatly expanded in recent years. No longer simply an online catalog of UF holdings, it now offers a diverse information menu. Reference staff throughout the libraries can provide assistance in the use of the catalog, written documentation for self help, and aid in accessing the catalog from faculty offices.

UF Libraries Catalog

Containing almost all of the books and journals held by the Libraries of the University of Florida, the catalog eases the difficulty of locating materials as it is accessible through the Internet from offices, laboratories, and dormitories or homes. It now contains 100% of all UF's cataloged collections. However, like other university libraries, UF has some uncataloged special, archival, map, microform and documents collections. Specialized catalogs or finding aids in Special Collections, Documents, Microtexts and the Map Collection provide access to these materials. Reference staff in all of these areas can provide assistance.

Reference and Information Services

Reference service is provided to library users in each library and is also available via Internet chat, telephone, and E-Mail. All of the libraries provide special services to assist physically challenged faculty in their use of the libraries; information is available at all circulation desks. At the beginning of the fall semester, new faculty are sent information packets outlining library services and naming the subject specialist who serves the faculty member's discipline. At the beginning of each semester, the Libraries offer orientation programs designed to inform those new to campus what services are available and how to use them. Schedules are posted in each library at the beginning of terms. Individual assistance is available at the reference desk in each library and by appointment with subject specialists. In addition, instructional librarians will work with faculty and teaching assistants to develop and present course specific library instruction sessions. Instruction coordinators are available in Humanities and Social Science Reference in Smathers Library, in Marston Science Library, and in the branches.

Subject specialists, who work closely with faculty to select materials for the collections, also assist researchers who wish it by sharing their specialized bibliographic knowledge of what information resources are available locally and nationally to support specific research. A good time to consult the subject specialists is when beginning work on a major research project or beginning to develop a working knowledge of another discipline. A list of subject specialists is available at reference desks and at the link above. Users may schedule a meeting with the appropriate specialist.