This guide brings together useful services, online collections and more for new University of Minnesota students.


Library use is positively associated with GPA, retention, academic engagement, scholarship and academic skills. Our buildings may be limited, but a library is more than just our buildings. You can connect virtually with our librarians and staff and access millions of books and many services and resources online.


Why use the Libraries and the website?

It is good for you and your GPA! We studied it and found that students who use the U Libraries and the library website have higher average GPAs and are more likely to graduate in fours years than students who do not use the library. 

Many people think of a "library" as a book warehouse. When we say "library" we mean more than just the books and buildings. A library is:

1. The website ( - Access millions of resources through the University Libraries without ever leaving your home! Log into with your UMN ID and password to explore online books and articles, watch a streaming documentary, or read an online newspaper.

2. The librarians, staff, and students ready to help you get started with papers and projects, find and use information, and help you get the grades you want. Help is available virtually by consultation or 24/7 chat!

Learn More Here:

Go on a Gopher Library Adventure

Go on a Gopher Library Adventure

Do you like adventure? Explore your way through this “choose your own adventure” eBook! Learn about all the awesome stuff available from the UMN Libraries - like online search tools, streaming music, archives, undergraduate research, ways to get help, and more. The e-book is fun, fast, and full of adventure! It is so good you will want to start the adventure all over again. 

Complete the short activity at the end to be entered into a chance to win a “Gopher Library Welcome kit” (delivered in the mail to you). 

Free Online Workshops in January

This semester is going to be unlike any other -- level up your skills and learn new ways to get academic stuff done. Find out what online services and tools are available to help you get the grades you want this semester. Register today for these free online workshops.




Bullet journaling for motivation

Start the new year and new semester out right! Learn how to use a bullet journal to increase your motivation, stay organized, set daily goals, and reflect on challenges and accomplishments. 

Virtual Tours: Canvas, UMN Libraries and more

Are you new to the University of Minnesota or just wanting to learn how to do this “online colleging” thing better? This session will give you an overview of Canvas courses, the library website ( and (peer tutoring centers). Librarians will also share tips to increase your efficiency with searching the library and using Canvas.

Start strong: Early semester tips and tricks - semester planning and more 

Fall semester was tough -- learn about new strategies, tools and hacks that can help you for spring. We will talk about semester planning, Canvas course tips, and go on virtual visits to the UMN Libraries and (peer tutoring centers). Get ideas for keeping up the motivation and staying on track in your courses.

Tips and tools for spring semester planning

Now that spring is underway -- plan the rest of your semester and get organized. Fill out a semester calendar, learn about online peer tutoring, explore tools to be more productive and connect with other students (maybe even make a virtual study group). 

Want a virtual library tour?

Library website. The library is sometimes referred to as the heart of campus. We certainly feel this way. At this moment in time, since you are likely unable to visit one of our 12 libraries, we want to give you an opportunity to have a virtual visit. Getting an online tour of the Libraries website is a great step to take! You can get an idea of the resources available to you and we will highlight our online tools for new (and existing) students.

Fill out this short form to request a tour

We will contact you within two days to schedule and/or confirm the tour. The tour will take about 20-30 minutes. We will send a Zoom or other meeting link at least one hour ahead of the scheduled tour. If you have any questions contact Kate Peterson (

Check the Libraries for your textbooks and readings

List of online ebooksIn partnership with the University of Minnesota Bookstores, the University Libraries provides you with a list of free U of M required books. All books are free for U of MN - Twin Cities’ students to read online. Books are in PDF format are available for download in their entirety.  

Check the list to see if the library already has books for your course online, for free.

Streaming music and video you can access now

Kanopy streaming videos

You can stream and watch documentaries and many arts focused films including Opera and Theater performances. We have a bunch of online streaming music collections -- primarily these are for the music majors but we all get to take advantage of them.

Keep in mind that any of these sources evens songs can also be used as part of a future research paper or project!

Newspapers & magazines you can read online now

MagazinesNever get stopped by a message asking you to "buy" and article (sometimes that is called a pay wall)! The University Libraries has millions of online journals, magazine and newspapers -- both subscriptions to "browse" or read a current issue and tools to help you search. 

Use the links below to reach current articles. Remember this is just a sample of what you have access to -- try the search box on our homepage to find more.  

Register for free online workshops for gophers

Tomato timer for pomodoro technique

This semester is going to be unlike any other -- level up your skills and learn new ways to get work and stuff done. Find out what online services and tools are available to help you get the grades you want this semester. Register for free, online workshops such as: 


  • Virtual tour: Canvas, UMN Libraries and more
  • Bullet Journaling for Motivation
  • Tips for Taking Notes (IRL and in Zoom lectures)
  • Start strong: Early semester planning
  • Try the Pomodoro technique: Virtual Study Time
  • Tips and Tools for spring semester planning

Prepare and plan for your classes

Image of stickers to help with organizing your semester. Getting ready for your semester ahead can mean many things - like figuring out your textbooks and readings, to making a fancy bullet journal sort of schedule in a calendar to using an app to figure out everything you need to get done.

Your classes at the University will require more time than your school in the past -- now is a good time to level up those skills around "time management."

Here is a great tutorial from Effective U to help you do that.  

Effective U (Online Tutorials)

Effective U graphic

As a student, you've probably realized you need new skills for dealing with the many tasks filling up your semester: studying, classes, work, finances, family, friends. Explore these free online tutorials to learn new ways to manage your time, manage stress, take better notes, and prepare for tests.

Free Libraries Zoom Backgrounds


Student Jobs

The Libraries employ hundreds of student employees for many different tasks.  COVID-19 has reduced our staff for now, but you can view current openings on our student jobs page and stay updated by signing up for our email list

Student Workers at Walter Library

Library services for undergraduates

Get help from the U Libraries - Online!

Academic Success Centers & SMART Learning Commons (peer tutoring and more)

These services are designed to:

  • Boost your confidence as a student
  • Help you stay on top of your coursework
  • Offer a deeper understanding of the content
  • Connect you to peers who know tips and tricks for various courses 
  • Teach you effective study strategies and time management
Last Updated: Jan 7, 2021 11:14 AM