Off the Shelf: Promises you can keep in the New York

Virginia Bryan, Library staff

The start of a new year is traditionally a time for resolutions. Each year we promise ourselves that this is the year we’ll exercise more, drink less, eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, quit smoking, take up yoga, maybe even spend less time on Facebook. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that, for most us, these worthy goals are abandoned within weeks, even days, of being made, victims of our overblown, unrealistic expectations. And yet, despite the well-documented failure of New Year’s resolutions, we continue to make them. Every year as Jan. 1 rolls around, we are gripped right on cue by an irresistible urge to make changes in our lives, as though the date itself were imbued with some special, once-a-year, transformative magic.

If you’re one of the many who succumb to the lure of this annual goal-chasing ritual, you’re probably experiencing a dose of reality round about now. But don’t lose heart just yet. Madison College Libraries is here to offer you a little remedial help. Below are twelve realistic, manageable “resolutions” which, while they’re probably not going to transform your life, may serve to make your Madison College learning experience a little richer. And the best thing is, you might even succeed in keeping a couple of them:

I will explore the library’s collection of online research guides (under the Research tab on the library home page). Specially created by Madison College librarians, these customized guides offer program-, subject- and course-specific resources on everything from astronomy to travel.

I will try texting the library a question at (608) 554-4659.  (We will text you back.)

I will follow MadCollege Libraries on Twitter (madcollegelib) for real-time library updates, announcements of “flash coffees,” answers to questions, information on weather-related library closings, and news of other library events.

I will give Skype Reference a try.  (Click the Skype button on the library’s home page to learn how.)

I will check out the library databases and discover why it makes sense to start my research there.  (To see what’s available, click the Databases tab on the library home page and go to the A-Z list.)

I will visit the libraries’ mobile web site at for quick access to text reference, online research guides, Ebsco articles, the library collection, library hours, Facebook and more.

I will get a librarian’s recommendation for a good read and do some reading just for pleasure.

I will start my library research early, giving myself enough time to take advantage of the serendipitous twists and turns that often characterize good research.

I will ask a librarian for help finding appropriate resources for my paper.

I will get a UW libraries card and take advantage of the resources of the university libraries.  (Stop by one of the Madison College Libraries for a letter verifying your status as a for credit student.)

I will “Like” Madison College Libraries on Facebook for timely information about the libraries, photos, discussions, and news of upcoming book talks, contests and events.  (There went the resolution to cut back on Facebook.)

I will call home more often … but not from the library.

Welcome back, students!  Happy New Year!