Rants and Raves: Frost Findings

Managing Arts and Living Editor Madeline Lawson ’25 raves about the abundance of resources at Frost Library.

Rants and Raves: Frost Findings
An early-fall Frost, busy with students and curiously obscured by trees — a strange impairment seemingly reflected in every institutional photo of the building. Photo courtesy of Amherst College.

Frost Library is my default study space. I can spend hours in a cubicle writing a paper, relax in a comfy chair doing my reading, or get a Buzzed Banana smoothie from Frost Cafe. Even when I’m not finishing homework, I’m still in the library, working as an employee at the front desk or between the stacks. After spending a year exploring all that Frost has to offer, I’ve learned about the many ways students can use the library, including opportunities they may be unaware of.

While this may be obvious to upperclassmen, some newer students may be unaware that you can request books from any of the Five Colleges and have them delivered to Amherst within a few days. Once you’re finished, you can also drop them off here, instead of traveling to another campus. However, if you are visiting UMass’s Du Bois Library (the third tallest library in the world!) or are stopping by another campus, you can use your Amherst ID to check out books. If none of the Five Colleges have what you’re looking for, you can place a loan request online to either have the book shipped from another library through the Interlibrary Loan system or submit a purchase request. If there’s any possible way for Frost Library to get material you need, they will deliver it right to you.

The library has more resources than just class materials. There are a number of leisure books available, with an entire section of manga, graphic novels, and fiction. The DVD collection is housed on A Level, and if you’ve gotten rid of your DVD player, you can watch films in Frost at the screening stations next to the collection. And if you’re in a pinch, you can also check out phone and laptop chargers from the front desk.

Frost offers a number of digital resources as well, including the citation service  Zotero, which you can use to help create a digital bibliography. With some of Frost’s other digital tools, you can learn a language on Mango, stream media from around the world, learn all about birds, and explore Ancestry.com’s library, all through your Amherst account. If you’re having trouble sifting through the databases, you can always come chat with a research librarian, available at the front desk, or make an appointment to have an in-depth session. The Archives & Special Collections are an additional resource for research, but if you can’t visit in person, you can always browse their digitized collection.

Perhaps the most significant change that Frost has made this year is becoming a fine-free library. In order to facilitate equity amongst the Amherst community, no fines will be incurred for late materials. That means that if you’re in a class and unable to return a reserve book in the allotted four hours, you won’t be charged a fine, as in the past. This also applies to other materials, which typically have a three month loan period for students. If you have any questions, you can always come to the front desk, where a worker will be glad to help you. Frost Library has an incredible array of resources, from free printing on A Level to study rooms available for reservation and course materials behind the front desk. Make sure that you take advantage of them!

Is there something that drives you absolutely crazy? Send us your own “Rants and Raves” pitch at [email protected].