Essential Library Resources for University and College Students

September 1, 2022 | Mike

Comments (0)

Two women using laptops are studying together at a table in a library branch.

Hello and welcome to all the students that have started attending post-secondary schools in Toronto! I hope you are starting to settle into the school year and making new friends. You may not be aware, but everyone going to school in Toronto can get a free library card. All you have to do is bring the correct identification to your nearest library branch and staff will be able to make you a card in a couple of minutes.

Once you have a library card, you will be able to access everything the library has to offer. That includes Museum + Arts Passes, Digital Innovation Hubs, and, of course, books, movies and music. There are free online courses from LinkedIn Learning and Gale Courses, you could learn a language with Mango Languages, or use the Adult Learners section of Brainfuse for writing or resume help.

The library also provides access to databases that you can use at any time of the day from wherever you are. These databases are great for doing research in academic journals, newspapers, magazines and reference books. Most databases offer similar features, including the ability to download articles as PDFs for offline reading. They also usually provide citations in different formats, making it handy to pull together the sources you used.

Academic OneFile

Academic OneFile is a great resource to start your research because it covers a wide range of subjects. The academic journals in the database cover the sciences, humanities and social sciences. About 80% of the sources are academic in nature, so it is for people studying in university or college.

Check out Getting Started with Academic OneFile for a guide to using the database.


Along with Academic OneFile, JSTOR is another great starting point when doing your research. JSTOR specializes in academic journals, books and research reports, so the resources are best for college or university students. It also has a collection of primary sources from academic institutions around the world.

The advanced search is handy as it lets you limit your search to only journals in specific subjects. There are also 3+ million images that can be used for educational or scholarly purposes. For more tips, see Getting Started with JSTOR.

Canadian Business and Current Affairs

If your project or research relates to Canada, Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA) is the database for you. It is more than a business database, though. CBCA also covers Canadian studies, culture, literature, government and more. Resources inside CBCA include scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines and more.

Canadian Periodical Index

Canadian Periodical Index (CPI.Q) includes over 1,300 Canadian periodicals with full-text articles going back to 1983. This is a great database to use if you want to search in a wide variety of Canadian newspapers and magazines from the past forty years. CPI.Q also stands out because it includes some French periodicals.

SAGE Journals

Many students are familiar with JSTOR or Academic OneFile, but don't skip SAGE Journals when doing your research. The science, humanities and engineering journals in SAGE Journals are not in any other database. This database has over 1,000 journals published by SAGE, including some Canadian resources.

MIT Press Direct

MIT Press Direct is a little different from the other resources in that it publishes full-text ebooks rather than articles. The books published by MIT Press are mostly research-based and intended for an academic audience. The big benefit to these ebooks is that you can download them as a PDF without any special software or having to set up an account.

Learning Express Library

Thinking about taking the LSAT, MCAT or GMAT? Learning Express Library is a test-preparation resource for a wide range of tests and exams you might need depending on your future plans.

Other Library Resources

Check out our other blog posts for even more resources you can access with your library card. These include online resources to boost your professional skills, resources for learning English, and a guide to historical archives.