Friday, May 14, 2010

Services the library doesn't provide

We get a lot of questions and requests actually should be directed to another part of the college.

Textbooks and coursepacks
If you are looking for the readings assigned in your course or study, we don't have them. They are available for purchase from the Empire State College Bookstore. You can call 800-847-3000 ext. 2365 or you can go to If you are looking to save money, you might want to shop around the used book sellers on the web as well - just make sure you get the right edition of your book!

Writing help and sample essays
We don't have any examples of the kinds of essays and assignments your instructors want, but the Writing Resource Center does. Go to They also have a paper critique service. If you study at one of the regional centers, contact them to see about in-person peer tutoring or writing assistance.

You can access the college's online tutoring service at If you study at one of the regional Centers, you might also consider contacting your Center about whether they have peer tutoring available.

Details about assignments
Only your instructor can answer questions about when an assignment is due, what the expectations are, or what something means. Instructors often have their own vision of how something should be done - even something as seemingly straightforward as citing your sources - and we can't guess. There is no substitute for direct communication with your professor.

In addition, librarians can't help you with any of the "creative" or "original" aspects of your assignment. For example, we can give you guidance on how to narrow down your topic, but we can't pick a topic for you. We can show you the best places to look for sources and the best techniques for searching, but we can't say which articles and books to use.

Technical support
If your login isn't working or something is wrong in your course, we don't have any way to help you, but the Service and Support helpline is available for that. You can go to to access their Knowledge Base or fill out a request form, or you can call 800-847-3000 ext. 2420.

Questions that we CAN answer!
We are here from 9am-9pm Monday through Thursday, 9-5 on Friday, and 1-9 on Sunday to answer all your questions relating to the research process and how to use the Library and its various databases, tools, and services.

Use our chat window at or call 800-847-3000 ext. 2222. (If you don't receive an answer right away, we are helping another person and will get to you in a moment.)

If you prefer to communicate by e-mail or it's after hours, go to and fill out the help request form. We are happy to help you and will get back to you within an hour or two during our online hours. Otherwise we will get back to you early the next business day.

The library is part of an ecosystem of services that are available to you. We work hard to coordinate with the others so that you can get your education with minimal hassle and wait. Please don't hesitate to contact us for help as soon as you need it!

Empire State College Library Research Blog
Questions? Ask a Librarian

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