Welcome Back!

Welcome to the start of another amazing academic year at St. Mary’s. You may not realize it, but by this time the librarians and library staff have had enough of the quiet summer days and are so very excited to see you again! If you’re a student, come by the library to say hello in between classes, and while you’re here you can:

  • Check out a laptop if your computer is on the fritz during the first week of classes.
  • See what your professor has placed on Course Reserve for the semester.
  • Print out your syllabi for the semester.
  • Start digging in to your SMP lit review (if you’re at that point)!

For faculty, don’t forget that the library

  • Has an all-campus subscription to both The Chronicle of Higher Education AND The New York Times. For full access to content, you just need to register with your St. Mary’s email address.
  • Is still taking requests for Course Reserves. You can find the online forms for Course Reserves requests on the Portal under the Faculty Tab.
  • Has librarians who can teach research workshops for you this semester. Just ask us.

See you soon.


A reminder of our (no) fines policy

Hello from the front desk!  Despite the snow days, the semester is now in full swing and the books, DVD’s, Kindles, extension cords, laptop chargers, and more are quickly moving back and forth across the front desk – from us to you and back again.  So I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone of our fine policy.

Our fine policy is simple: with a few exceptions, there are no overdue fines.  And these aren’t wide-ranging exceptions that basically include everything – nothing like “no fines except on days that end in ‘y'”.  When we say “no fines”, we mean it!

Having said that, the exceptions are as follows:

  • items from the media center: if it comes from the third floor of the library where Ken, Linda, Raven, and Andy work, it’s subject to overdue fines.
  • course reserves: if it’s on course reserve at the front desk (three hour, overnight, or three day loan) – it’s subject to overdue fines.  This doesn’t apply to e-reserves, only to physical items you check out at the front desk.
  • recalled items: it doesn’t happen too often, but every once in a while you’ll get a “recall notice” email.  That’s letting you know that someone else wants to use the item.  Read that email closely because it gives you a new due date.  If you turn it in late, you’ll get fined.
  • USMAI/ILLiad items: if you borrow something from another library, either through USMAI or ILLiad, you’ll get fined if it’s late.  The amount varies depending on the library that owns the item.

So if none of the above applies, then you won’t be fined for returning it late.  Now, if you NEVER return it, you will eventually get billed for it.  But if it’s a day or a week late – nothing.

The reason for this policy is simple.  We want you to borrow all the items you need, for research, fun, etc, without worrying about anything except whether you want or need it.  And not to sound “braggy” but we’ve got a lot of stuff!  Almost 200,000 books, mostly academic but many popular titles as well, (and several thousand more ebooks), nearly 3,000 DVD’s, six Kindles pre-loaded with about 40 bestsellers, scores of equipment such as Mac chargers, extension cords, headphones, flash drives, etc.  So if it’ll make your life easier, or better, go for it!  We’re open until 1:00 AM Sunday – Wednesday, midnight on Thursday, and 9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, so there’s plenty of opportunity for you to stop by.

Happy librarying!

End of Semester Countdown


It’s that time of year again: The extension cords are all checked out, the coffee is flowing, and suddenly anyone speaking above a whisper in the library is TOO LOUD!!!!! With only a few days of classes left and final exams looming on the horizon, the library is here for you.

You can find our Final Exam week (and Winter Break) hours online, but essentially we’re open until 2 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15 – Wednesday, Dec. 18. As always, librarians are around to help with any last-minute research assignments, and all of our e-books and online databases are available 24/7. If you come by for some last minute studying, you might even find a certain library director whose name rhymes with Shmelia handing our power snacks and goodies when you least expect it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Have a Question? Find an Answer.

We get it. Sometimes you have a quick question and don’t want to bother to call, email, or ask us in person. Sometimes you just need to type a question into your iPhone and get an answer. Quickly.

In those situations, we have you covered. It’s a perfect opportunity to check out our collection of Frequently Asked Questions through our Ask a Librarian page.

Ask a Librarian link on library header

Not sure how to download Endnote? Need to access online databases from off-campus? Curious about the dates of this year’s Library Book Sale? Our FAQs have you covered. The best part is that you can literally type in a question and get an answer.

Ask a Librarian page screenshot

Please note: Although we try to keep our FAQs well stocked with useful questions, you may have a question we just haven’t posted an answer to yet. In that event, you’ll simply be prompted to email your question and a librarian will soon.


Reading this Summer?

Reading on the Beach

Reading on the Beach by Courtney McGough on Flickr

Last weekend I broke down. I bought a Kindle (a Kindle Paperwhite to be exact). Despite my ambivalence towards e-reading, it’s getting harder for me to deny the conveniences of an e-reader. I’m a reader. Although chasing a toddler around the house has but a kink in my reading style, I still try to get in as much eyeball-to-text time as I possibly can. When I go on a trip, I take as much care and effort packing my reading materials as I do packing my clothes. This little 5 x 7 inch device is making upcoming travel so much more convenient and amazingly less stressful. Instead of trying to squeeze in 3-4 different volumes I can just pop that Kindle in my purse and call it a day. It’s fantastic.

Will I stop buying and checking out print books from the library? No way. In fact, as I type, I have two books on my nightstand from the St. Mary’s County Library. The Kindle is just a new addition to my reading lifestyle and a great way to kick off the summer reading season. If you’re interested in getting your summer reading off right, the SMCM Library can help.


We have 6 different Kindles for SMCM students, faculty, and staff to borrow loaded with all kinds of fantastic fiction. Want to find out what all the Game of Thrones fuss is about? Read it on our Kindle Fire. Curious about Gone Girl or Kate Atkinson’s latest, Life after Life? Read one on a Kindle Touch. For more about our Kindles and the books on them, check out our online Kindle Guide.

Popular Reading Collection

If you’re more of a print-on-paper kind of reader. We have you covered. Our popular reading collection has a great selection of fiction and non-fiction bestsellers to help you take a break from heavy academic reading. Take a walk up to the 2nd floor and hang a left. In the reading area you’ll find a beautiful water-front view and our awesome Popular Reading Collection.

St. Mary’s County Public Libraries

I wouldn’t be doing my due-diligence as a librarian if I didn’t do a little cross-promotion. We are fortunate to have an amazing public library system in our county. If you haven’t visited one of the branches in Lexington Park, Leonardtown, or Charlotte Hall, please do it. Their book, movie, and music selection is amazing! A few weekends ago I picked up Tom Perotta’s The Leftovers, a copy of the Alabama Shakes album, and Dinosaur vs. The Potty, a board book for my son. They have fun summer programming for kids too!

Summer Book Club

Since you’re doing all this reading anyway, you might as well win a prize or two for your efforts. The SMCM Library’s Summer Reading Program continues this year and gives all SMCM students, faculty, staff, and alumni a chance to contribute book reviews to the Summer Reading Blog and win prizes.

Happy Reading,


Summer Library Hours


The library’s summer hours are now in effect. You can continue to stop by the library during the summer months Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. We’re closed on Saturday and Sunday. After the mad rush of finals the library is now calm, cool, and filled with awesome librarians, library staff, computers, and books.

We will be closed for the following holidays:

Memorial Day (Monday, May 27)
Independence Day (Thursday, July 4)

Stop by and see us. We’re not at the beach yet!


Well, they’re not quite here, but they’re coming up quickly.  As always, the SMCM Library is ready to help you finish out the year on a high note.

For starters, the Reference & Instruction librarians (and myself, from behind the circulation desk) are available to provide research assistance on any and all subjects.  If there isn’t anyone at the reference desk, we have an “open door” policy here – if a door is open, come on in!  Beyond that, you can email any of the librarians to set up an appointment.  Beyond THAT, we often have someone available to chat live, in real-time, at the Research Help page on the library website.  Finally, there is an online knowledge base of frequently asked questions for you to search – or you can ask your own question and get a response within 24 hours.

What’s that you say?  You don’t necessarily need research help, you just want a place where you can kip down and study?  Well, you are in luck!  The SMCM Library has lots of accommodations – tables, individual study carrels and comfy chairs can be found in abundance on the first and second floors of the library.  If you need to use a computer, we have about two dozen of them loaded with Microsoft Office software and other goodies such as SPSS and Adobe Reader.  Room 112 in the Library Annex has another 16 computers, and it is available 24/7 for night owls and early birds.  The circulation desk also has laptops available.  If you want a bit of privacy, we have five group study rooms, three of which can be reserved online for up to three hours at a time (the other two are first-come, first-served).  These rooms all have tables/chairs, ethernet ports, power outlets, and whiteboards.  One study room even has a 55″ flatscreen TV with a computer connection for your laptop!

If it’s gear you need, then the circulation desk has almost certainly got what you’re looking for.  We’ll loan you a laptop, headphones, dry erase markers, ethernet cables, extension cords, laptop chargers (Mac & PC), and lots of other stuff to help you make the most of your time here.  By the way, I should mention that NONE of these items are subject to overdue fines 😀

In addition to all of the above, we’re offering extended hours from Tuesday, April 23 through Tuesday, May 7.  Be sure to thank Carol, Reneé, and the rest of the late-night staff for helping keep us open late!

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let a library staff member know.  If they can’t help you directly, they can put you in touch with someone who can.

Happy librarying!!