The best resources Cabell Library has to offer, from the bottom up

James Branch Cabell Library will reopen with occupancy limits on Aug. 3, according to a release from VCU Libraries. CT file photo

This story ran as part of a VCU Student Media Center summer special publication, The Compass, which serves as a guidebook for new students.

Caroline Meyers, Contributing Writer

Cabell Library is at the center of the Monroe Park campus and is a great place to study collaboratively, attend a discussion or film screening, consult with a librarian or just hang out and get out of your dorm or apartment building. Here are a few highlights.

The Workshop is a tech and fabrication hub that I wish I knew about sooner. Rent a projector and host a movie night in your place of residence, check out a Mac computer — the rest of the library has PCs — and use the Adobe Suite. You can also attend a 3D-printing embroidery orientation. All of the equipment in the Workshop is free to use, and it is always staffed with student workers trained to use all of the equipment, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The Information Desk consists of three pods you see upon entering the library. This is the starting point for any question you might have, and it’s also where students check out books. The staff at this desk can give you basic research assistance or, if you come during weekday business hours, get you an immediate consultation with the on-call librarian. All you have to do is ask.

Interlibrary Loan Services helps students request materials not available at VCU through other libraries. Oftentimes, the sky’s the limit when it comes to what kind of content you can obtain — this includes books, articles, newspapers on microform, videos and more. You can select your preferred format, whether that be a digital or physical copy. When the materials are ready, you can pick them up at the library or have them shipped to you. This service is great for research projects, especially the more complicated variety. Visit and head to “services” for more information and to log in to the portal to request an interlibrary loan. 

Study rooms are located on all four floors of the library. Any open study room is up for grabs, but I recommend you use the study room reservation tool on the VCU Libraries website because most of the time, study rooms are all booked up and you will be kicked out of a given room if someone has reserved it. Also, the noise level allowed in a study room corresponds with the noise level of each floor — the second floor is ideal for big groups because it is a collaborative floor, smaller groups work best on the quieter third floor, and rooms on the fourth floor, which is silent, are better for individuals or quiet pairs.

Tompkins-McCaw Library, VCU’s second library devoted to the health sciences, is another resource available to VCU students and is conveniently located right off the Medical Center stop on the GRTC Pulse. It is the only library that rents out headphones and laptop chargers, and it is also full of exhibits of antique medical equipment. As a smaller and much less busy library, a friend of mine once referred to it as the only truly silent spot to study on campus.

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