Library A to Z    
 
 
On this page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Questions

What kind of library are you?
The Mervyn H. Sterne Library is the main research library at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It supports the academic needs of the University for all disciplines except medicine.

How can I contact the Library?
Our phone number is (205) 934 6364.
There are lots of other ways to contact us as well.

What is your address?
We are located at:
917 13th Street South (directions)
Birmingham, Alabama
Our mailing address is:
Mervyn H. Sterne Library
SL 172
1720 Second Avenue South
Birmingham, AL (USA)
35294-0014
Do I need to show anything to get into the library?
Not before 10:00 p.m. While the Library is open to the public during the day, access to the Library is limited beginning at 10:00 p.m. Between 10:00 p.m. and closing, only those with an official UAB ID card (BlazerID) or an active UAB alumni card are allowed to enter or remain in the building. UAB Security is in the building to enforce this requirement.

If you do not have a BlazerID and wish to use the computers in the Library, please see Using the Computers in Sterne Library (http://www.mhsl.uab.edu/computers) or ask at the Reference Desk.

What are Sterne Library's hours?
Regular hours during Fall and Spring are:

  • Monday - Thursday, 7:30 AM - 2:00 AM
  • Friday, 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sunday, 1:00 PM - 2:00 AM
During Fall and Spring, our hours to the public are:
  • Monday - Thursday, 7:30 AM - 10:00 PM
  • Friday, 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sunday, 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Regular Summer hours are:
  • Monday - Thursday, 7:30 AM - 11:00 PM
  • Friday, 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sunday, 1:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Library Calendar

Special hours (such as on holidays) and extended hours (around exam time) are posted on our calendar.

Where's a good place to study in Sterne Library?
Sterne Library has three floors. The first floor has the Reference/Information Desk, so phones are ringing and people are talking. The second and third floors are quieter. If you need a really quiet place to study, you can check out individual or group study rooms.

Are there services to patrons with physical disabilities?
Yes, we have text-to-voice software, text scanning equipment, and screen readers and magnifiers. We will also assist you with access to the library collections and services, including retrieval of materials, photocopying assistance, library orientation, special checkout arrangements, and extended loan periods. For more information, please see our page Services for Mervyn H. Sterne Library Users with Disabilities (http://www.mhsl.uab.edu/accessibility).

Are there services for distance education students?
Yes, we have special services for our distance education students such as document delivery and online research consultations. For guidelines and more details, please see our page Services for Distance Students (http://www.mhsl.uab.edu/distance).

How can I find out more about copyright?
The Mervyn H. Sterne Library has created a resource to provide fast and accurate copyright information to the UAB community.

How can I find out about the history of UAB?
UAB Archives has information about UAB's history, including a timeline.

How do I find out about library events and exhibits?
We post information on upcoming events on our Web page, our News blog, and our Facebook page.

Where can I park to visit Sterne Library?
There are metered spaces around Sterne Library, on 10th Avenue and 13th and 14th Streets. Other parking information is available at UAB Parking and Transportation.

Where is the library Lost and Found?
There is a library Lost and Found at the Circulation Desk. You can either go to the desk or call them at 934-4338.

Does the library have study rooms?
Yes, the library has individual and group-study rooms. The individual rooms are called carrels. To check either one out, you will need your CampusCard. Two people must be present to check out a group-study room. Carrels may be used for a period of three hours, and renewed one time. Group-study rooms may also be used for a period of three hours, but may not be renewed.

There are group-study rooms on all three floors. The ones on the first floor have large monitors, which are useful for group projects; you can plug your laptop into the monitor and show your work on the big screen.

Can I reserve a group or individual study room (carrel)?
No, group-study rooms cannot be reserved in advance and are available on a first-come first-served basis. Carrels can be checked out to graduate students and students with disabilities for the semester and faculty for the school year.

Where are the restrooms located?
We have restrooms on all three floors of the library. The entrances are next to the elevators.

Where are the magazines in the library?
There is a magazine browsing area in front of Circulation. Check our local catalog for back issues of periodicals.

I just need a cup of coffee while I study! Where can I get one?
You're in luck! We have a Starbucks in the library. They are usually open the same times as us, but you can double-check on the UAB Dining Services page.

Can I eat in the library?
Yes, you can eat and drink in all areas of the library.

Can I use my cell phone in the library?
As a courtesy to others, please turn off your cell phone's ringer when you are in the building. You may talk on your cell phone in the first floor reading/lobby area across from the Circulation Desk.

Are children allowed to use Sterne Library?
Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian. Parents and guardians are responsible for the conduct of their children on Library premises and must provide reasonable supervision of their children. Should an unattended or unsupervised child be discovered, the staff will try to locate or telephone the parent or guardian. If the parent or guardian is not located, a staff member may contact the UAB Police Department to report the situation of an unattended child and/or seek assistance with such children.

I need to have my thesis/dissertation bound. How do I arrange for it?
If you want to get a bound copy of your thesis or dissertation, take the copies that you want to have bound to the administrative office at Sterne Library between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For any questions, call the office at 934-6360.

How can I find a job in the library?
We occasionally have open positions at Sterne Library. Please check the following links for any openings:
Faculty positions
Staff positions
If you are interested in becoming a student assistant at Sterne Library, you may submit an application for consideration. Applications for student assistant positions are available in the Library's Administrative Offices (Room 172), Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Who are the Friends of Sterne Library and how can I join?
The Friends of Sterne Library is a social group created to support Sterne Library. Anyone may join. Members get guest circulation cards and invitations to special events. You can find more information on our Friends of Sterne Library page.

Checking Out Materials and Access to Resources

Do I need to show anything to get into the library?
Not before 10:00 p.m. While the Library is open to the public during the day, access to the Library is limited beginning at 10:00 p.m. Between 10:00 p.m. and closing, only those with an official UAB ID card (BlazerID) or an active UAB alumni card are allowed to enter or remain in the building. UAB Security is in the building to enforce this requirement.

If you do not have a BlazerID and wish to use the computers in the Library, please see Using the Computers in Sterne Library (http://www.mhsl.uab.edu/computers) or ask at the Reference Desk.

How do I get access to library databases from off campus?
To access databases and electronic journals, you will need to log in using your BlazerID and password.

What is my library user name and password?
They are the same as your BlazerID and password. Easy to remember!

I'm not a UAB student, staff or faculty member. Can I access the library collections?
Yes, as long as you are in the library. We are open to the public and have a few computers accessible to non-UAB users. You can use our collection and photocopy material.

Can I check out a DVD to watch at home?
As of January 1, 2010, students, faculty, and staff may check out DVDs to watch at home for seven days, as long as the DVD is not on course reserve. More information on checking out DVDs is on the Circulation Department page.

Do you have headphones I can borrow?
Yes, you can check out headphones at the Circulation Desk with your UAB CampusCard or your employee ID.

I'm a new student/staff/faculty member. How do I get a library card?
New students will use their UAB CampusCard. New faculty and staff will need to obtain an employee ID. We will add a bar code to your employee ID when you come in for the first time to check out material.

How long after I graduate do I still have library privileges?
Undergraduate students will not have library privileges after they graduate. Graduate students have a 63 day check out period. When no longer enrolled, the period starts to shorten until the account expires.

I am an emeritus UAB faculty member. Do I have library privileges?
Retired faculty members have library privileges. Please contact us at 934-6264 so that we can update your account.

I am a UAB alumnus. Do I have library privileges?
Anyone can come in and use our resources. If you would like to check out books, you have two options: You can become a Friend of Sterne Library or join the UAB National Alumni Society.

Printing and Copying

How do I make copies in Sterne Library?
Copiers are located on the second floor of Sterne Library. All machines take BlazerBucks Cards or CampusCards with BlazerBucks. You can add BlazerBucks to your card at a machine next to the Circulation Desk. Copying is $.09/page.

What will I need to print or copy?
You will need either a BlazerBucks Card or a CampusCard with BlazerBucks. You can purchase a BlazerBucks card at a machine next to the Circulation Desk.

How do I add money to my BlazerBucks account?
We have a kiosk in the library where you can add money to your account or you can do it through the CampusCard Web page.

Can I print from my laptop, phone, tablet, or flash drive?
Yes, you can. Here are the instructions.

Where can I print my paper?
Mervyn H. Sterne Library has four printers, all on the first floor. Two are near the Reference Desk, one is near the Circulation Desk, and one is near the Writing Center. You may use a BlazerBucks Card or a CampusCard with BlazerBucks to pay for your printouts.
black-and-white color
single-sided: 9 cents single-sided: 36 cents
double-sided: 16 cents double-sided: 69 cents

How do I print PowerPoint slides 3 or 6 to a page?
If the slideshow is in WebCT, you must save it to the computer or a USB flash/thumb drive first. After you open the slideshow, change the "print what" selection from "slides" to "handouts," then choose the number of slides per page. For best results change the "color/grayscale" selection to "pure black and white."

What should I do if something goes wrong with my print job or the money is incorrectly subtracted from my BlazerBucks account?
The CampusCard office is in charge of refunds. You can reach them at 996-6273.

Is there a public-use fax machine in the library?
No, we do not have a fax machine for the public to use. Students can send or receive a fax in the One Stop Student Services office in the Residence Life Center of Blazer Hall (second floor, 920 Sixteenth Street South, 934-4300). Local faxes are $.50 per page and long-distance faxes are $0.75 per page. BlazerBucks are accepted.

Computer Use

What is the Library's policy regarding use of the Internet?
The Library's policies regarding computers and the internet have been developed to assist patrons in the appropriate use of network technology, through the use of university-owned computing resources. The use of University resources to access information on the internet and to support campus e-mail is a privilege for students, employees, or guests of the University. Read the full policy here.

What is the Library's policy regarding computer use?
Users of workstations are in a public building and are expected to show consideration for others. Any user exhibiting disruptive or harassing behavior may be subject to revocation of computer and/or Library access privileges or to removal or arrest by law enforcement officials. University students or employees engaging in disruptive or harassing behavior may be subject to additional University disciplinary action. The primary purpose of the computer workstations is for Library-related research.

I'm not a UAB student, staff or faculty member. Can I use the computers in the library?
The following guests may use the computers to access online databases and journals, the internet, and Microsoft Office: Guests are asked to come to the Reference Desk to obtain a password to access the computers. Passwords expire each day at 10:00 p.m.

For more information about using the computers in the Library, please see Using the Computers in Sterne Library (http://www.mhsl.uab.edu/computers) or ask at the Reference Desk.

How do I connect to the wireless network in the library?
Current UAB students, faculty, and staff can access UAB WIFI at Sterne Library.

How do I access my USB flash drive?
It's easy. Plug-in your USB flash drive into one of the USB ports on the front of the computer, and the computer will automatically recognize it. Go to "My Computer" and Click on "Removable Drive (E)" to access your files.

Do library computers have the Microsoft Office suite applications?
Some of the computers in Sterne Library do. In Sterne Library, the UAB login computers have the Microsoft Office Suite as do the public access computers against the wall.

Do you have a scanner for public use?
Yes, we have two scanners for public use located in the Reference Department. You will need a flash drive so you can save your scan.

Whom do I tell if I'm having problems with the Sterne Library page?
Please use this form to report any problems with the site.

Getting Material

A book I want is at the library - If I call ahead of time, can I have someone get it for me and hold it at the desk until I can get there?
No, we do not pull material and hold it for patrons.

How do I check out material?
You will need your CampusCard or Employee ID. Take the item from the circulating collection to the Circulation Desk. That's it!

What if I don't have my CampusCard or Employee ID with me?
You must have your CampusCard or Employee ID to check out a book. We will hold the book for you for three days until you can come in with your card.

Can I renew my books online?
Yes, you can renew books through "My Account."

How do I put a hold on a book?
You can request holds on books that are checked out. From the local catalog, at the item record, click on the "request" button at the top of the screen. You will be asked for some information and will be notified when the item is returned.

Where do I return my books?
You may return books either inside Sterne Library or at the book drops located near the two entrances.

Is there a limit to the number of items I can check out under my name at any one time?
UAB Faculty 100 items
UAB Staff 50 items
UAB Students 50 items
Other Borrowers 10 items

Can I check out journals?
No, journals are not available for checkout. You can make copies of the pages you need in one of our copy rooms.

Does the Library have e-books?
Yes, we have many e-books, particularly from NetLibrary. You can search for electronic books by limiting your catalog search to "Internet Resource." You can find more information on NetLibrary books in our guide.

The item I'm looking for isn't on the shelf. What do I do now?
If the item you need is not checked out and not on the shelf, you can fill out a search card. Circulation staff will look for the books and contact you when it is found.

How do I access library resources from off campus?
The local catalog is available to anyone from any computer. To access databases, electronic books, and electronic journals, you will need to log in with your BlazerID and password.

How can I find a book in the library?
Use the Local Catalog to find the location of the book. We have books on all three floors of the library, so make sure you note the floor along with the call number. Books and journals are arranged by Library of Congress Classification call numbers. You can follow the signs on the floors to locate the area of the book you need.

My professor told me to read an article on "reserve." How do I find reserve materials for my classes?
Reserve materials may be online or you may have to ask for them at the Circulation Desk. Either way, you can find them in the catalog. From our home page, click on Course Reserves. Now, all you have to do is select your instructor and course from the pull-down list. All the materials the professor has on reserve will come up.

I'm not a UAB student, staff or faculty member. Can I check out books?
It depends. Members of the UAB National Alumni Society and Friends of Sterne Library may check out books. General members of the public are not allowed to take books from the library, but anyone can be a Friend of Sterne.

The book I searched for isn't available here. Can I get books and articles from outside Sterne Library?
Yes, you can request books through Interlibrary Loan.

Does the library provide document delivery?
We do not provide document delivery. There are several commercial document delivery suppliers, but these commercial services are NOT subsidized by Sterne Library or UAB.

An item I requested from Interlibrary Loan has arrived, but I don't have time to pick it up today. How long will they hold it for me?
They will hold the item for about 2 weeks.

If the library does not have what I need, can I request materials via interlibrary loan?
Yes, you can complete an ILL request form, and you will be notified when the material is available.

Who can use ILL services?
All UAB students, faculty, and staff with a BlazerID

How long will it take to get an item that I requested through ILL?
This varies. If we can locate a library willing to fax the article, we can have it within 24 hours. The average turnaround time is 7 to 10 days when we receive the article by mail. For articles we receive electronically, it is 2 - 3 days. You can help us by supplying a complete citation.

How will I be notified when an ILL item that I requested is available?
You will be notified via e-mail when your material has arrived at UAB.

Where do I pick up an ILL item?
At the Interlibrary Loan desk in the Reference Department. If no one is at the desk, ask for your material at the Reference/Information Desk.

How long will I have to use an ILL item?
Loan periods are established by the lending library and usually vary between two to four weeks.

May I renew an ILL book?
You can request a renewal, but the lending library decides whether it can be renewed or not. You can request the renewal at your ILL Account.

How do I return an ILL item?
Bring it back to the Interlibrary Loan Desk. We have a book return box.

Fines for Lost or Damaged Books

I lost a book. How much will it cost to replace it? Whom do I need to contact?
For lost items, you will be charged the current price of item or $60 if the item is out of print. You will also be charged a $25 processing fee per item lost. For more information, contact the Circulation Department at 934-4338.

I accidentally damaged a book I have checked out. Will I be charged for it?
For damaged items, you will be charged the cost of restoration, which is an item by item assessment. You will also be charged a $25 processing fee per item lost. For more information, contact the Circulation Department at 934-4338.

Research

What's a "local catalog?"
The Local Catalog is a listing of all items held by Sterne Library. It IS NOT a listing of articles.

What are "databases?"
Databases are listings of information. Often these contain citations to articles. Many of the databases at Sterne Library are subject-specific, or cover one area of study.

How do I find out of you have a copy of an article I need?
If you are using a database that does not include the full text of an article you need, try the steps below to locate a copy of the article.
ELECTRONIC COPY
Use the Electronic Journals List to determine if the full text of a journal is available electronically in a different database. The Electronic Journals List covers both Sterne Library and Lister Hill Library databases. Many Sterne Library databases include links to check for the full text of an article in other databases. Look for the link to connect directly from a database to the Electronic Journals List.

PRINT COPY
Conduct a Journal Title search in the Sterne Library local catalog available on the Sterne Library home page.

WHEN SEARCHING IN DATABASES
Many Sterne Library databases include links to check for the full text of an article in other databases. Choose the link. If no full text is available and you want to check for a copy in print, you will see an option to search for . Choose the GO button to check the Sterne Library local catalog for the journal in which an article is published. Most print journals are on the second floor of the library.

HEALTH SCIENCES OR MEDICAL JOURNALS
If the article you need is published in a health sciences/medical journal, you should check the catalog of the UAB Lister Hill Library for a print copy.
How do I find an article from a specific journal?
You can do one of two things (assuming you have the citation): You can check the Electronic Journals List to determine if the full text of a journal is available electronically in a different database. You can also check our local catalog to see if we have a print copy.

What do all the numbers and letters on the spines mean?
These are the call numbers. We use the Library of Congress Classification System.

Is there a guide for finding primary sources?
Yes, we have the research guide, Historical Research and Writing: Primary Sources.

How can I find a librarian who specializes in my subject area?
We have seven librarians who specialize in subject areas. You can find a list and their contact information here.

Where can I find information on citation styles?
We have a research guide, Citing Your Sources, that can help you with many citation styles. If you still need help, you can make an appointment for a Citation Consultation. We require 24 hours' notice for weekday consultations and 2 days' notice for weekend consultations.

Where can I search for online articles?
You can search our databases for online articles. Databases are arranged by subject. If you are not sure where to start, you can use one of the general databases at the bottom of the page. Many, but not all, of the articles in databases will be full-text (or online). These are NOT articles from Web pages; we pay to have access to articles in databases.

Where can I learn how to use databases or research my topic?
General information on using databases and conducting research can be found on WIT (our Web-based Interactive Tutorial). For more intense research help, you can make an appointment for a Research Consultation. We require 24 hours' notice for weekday consultations and 2 days' notice for weekend consultations.

I need a lot of help with my research. What can I do?
If you need intense help with researching, you can make an appointment for a Research Consultation. You can either call 934-6364 for an appointment or you can use our online form. We require 24 hours' notice for weekday consultations and 2 days' notice for weekend consultations.

How do I use Endnote?
Please refer to our guide, Endnote Web, for complete instructions.

What is a permalink and how do I create one to an article?
Sometimes, you want to be able to return to an article. Permalinks, or PURLs, can be helpful. Find a full explanation of PURLs and directions on creating them in our guide Persistent URL: Direct Linking to Full Text Articles and Other Documents in Sterne Library Databases .

I like Google Scholar. How can I set it up to search Sterne Library holdings?
To personalize Google Scholar to show Sterne Library holdings, follow these instructions: - Choose the Scholar Preferences link to the right of the Google Scholar Search button. - In the Library Links section, enter university alabama birmingham and choose Find Library. - Check the boxes for University of Alabama at Birmingham - Find It @ UAB Sterne Lib. AND University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lister Hill Library - Find it@UAB Lister Hill - Choose Save Preferences from the top or bottom right of the page. - After you search Google Scholar, choose Find It @ UAB to connect to the full text of articles in databases and electronic journals available through both libraries.
For more information on using Google Scholar, see our guide Google Scholar.

Getting Help

Do I need to come to the library to get research help?
No, you can get help:
- via e-mail;
- through instant messaging;
- over the phone (205 934 6364);
- by texting a librarian (205 578 8417).

Who answers my text, e-mail, or chat question?
The librarian on duty at the Reference Desk answers your text, e-mail, or chat questions.

I need a lot of help with my research. What can I do?
If you need intense help with researching, you can make an appointment for a Research Consultation. You can either call 934-6364 for an appointment or you can use our online form. We require 24 hours' notice for weekday consultations and 2 days' notice for weekend consultations.

What if I need a lot of help with citing?
We also offer Citation Consultations. You can either call 934-6364 for an appointment or you can use our online form. We require 24 hours' notice for weekday consultations and 2 days' notice for weekend consultations.

Can I pay someone in the Library to help me with my research or homework?
You don't need to pay anyone at Sterne Library to help you! All the services we offer are free.