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Adult Education (ABE): Library Introduction

If you are beginning your college work with Adult Education classes, this guide will show you the basics of how to use the library for your assignments. Links to local public libraries are also provided.

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Why the Library?

  • Gets you information fast
  • Gets you better grades
  • Gets you friendly help


Welcome to the John C. Murphy Memorial Library! 

We're more than just books!  Come to the library to find books, articles, films and recordings.  You can even do a lot of research from home or other off-campus computer.  This guide will inform you about some of the most important library services and materials. 

Your use of the library is just beginning.

Finding a Topic

1.  Brainstorm possible topic ideas

  • Consider your personal interests.
  • Talk to family, friends, and classmates.
  • Look at the headlines on Google News or Yahoo
  • Scan the list of topics on Opposing Viewpoints homepage

 2.  Review assignment requirements

  • What kind of assignment is it - 5 minute oral presentation, 10 page paper, 50 page paper?
  • What formats do you need - visual, audio, printed, electronic?
  • Is point of view an issue? Do you need opinions?
  • How much time do you have?

3.  List keywords to define your topic

  • State your research topic as a question.
  • Think about the terms that describe your topic. These terms will become the key for searching for information about your subject in library catalogs, online databases, and other resources.
  • Sample keywords for research topic "What if Americorp tackled the Environment?":
    • Americorps
    • volunteerism
    • alternative energy
    • reforestation

4. Gather background information on your topic

  • It's hard to get started if you don't know much about your topic.  Do some general reading in an encyclopedia to get an overview of the topic.  This is also a great first step towards refining your topic.

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Reference Desk: 847.543.2071
Circulation Desk: 847.543.2619