The Library as Classroom

Photograph of the front of Willis Library and the Campus Mall. Copyright Joshua Sylve, Assistant Director, Departmental Marketing, UNT Libraries. Used with permission.

The writer Shelby Foote once said: “A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. The library is the university.” He was joking—sort of. While universities have a much broader scope, range of disciplines, and number of approaches to research than they had a quarter century ago, it’s true that the library still sits at the center of the university’s core activities: teaching, learning, research, technology, collaboration, and even its social and cultural life. As an instructor, you’ll want to put all of the UNT Libraries’ resources to the best possible use for you and your students.

Below are just a few of the things our Libraries offer, but you can learn more about our people, resources, and services in the other articles on this site via the library services tag. Be sure to contact your department’s subject librarian if you have specific questions about support for your classes.


Perhaps the most underutilized resource in the library is its people. The UNT Libraries are home to a  diverse array of professionals—including library faculty (a.k.a. “librarians”), professional staff, and student workers—with broad expertise that includes research and reference, disciplinary subject knowledge, archives and special collections, scholarly communication, digital technologies, electronic resources, audio-visual media, government information, teaching and learning technologies, outreach and public programs, and a great deal more. All of them take the educational and scholarly mission of the University seriously, and many are scholars, teachers, artists, creators, and passionate learners themselves.

You can browse the UNT Libraries Staff & Departmental Directory to learn more about the people who work here or contact your department’s subject librarian who can put you in touch with specific library personnel that can help with your projects.


The Libraries offer a broad range of services to students and the general public and more specialized services for faculty and graduate students. Many of these services will probably be pretty familiar to regular library users, as they include access and borrowing privileges, course reserves, computing and technology use, printing and scanning services, and study spaces in each of the campus libraries. All instructors should become familiar with the Libraries’ Instruction Services and other classroom support offered through the Library Learning Services department and subject librarians.

But did you also know that, as a faculty member, you can:

  • have materials delivered directly to your office and/or your online ILLiad account?
  • request the purchase of new materials either through your subject librarian or our online form?
  • get borrowing privileges at other academic and public libraries through the TexShare and OCLC Reciprocal Borrowing programs? These services can help supplement the resources immediately available in the libraries.

Other lesser-known services for instructors include:


In addition to the more than six million print and digital resources that you can access through the library catalog, UNT Libraries also has a number of special libraries, collections, and other materials to support and enrich your teaching.

Keep in mind that the Libraries consist of:

  1. The central Willis Library—which houses the main collections, as well as the world-class Music Library, Special Collections, and makerspace, The Factory.
  2. The Eagle Commons Library: home to government documents, law, political science, geography, and business collections.
  3. The Media Library which includes audiovisual collections and film and gaming equipment.
  4. The Discovery Park Library which serves the Colleges of Information and Engineering.

Besides these physical locations and collections, instructors should be aware of some of  UNT Libraries’ unique online resources, such as:

There are librarians that work with all of these collections who can help you find ways to integrate them into your classroom and curricula. You can start with your subject librarian as a point of contact for learning about any of these resources. 

In addition, subject librarians can help put together special Subject & Course Guides that gather resources tailored to your class or assignment needs. It’s worth browsing the current list of subject guides to discover some of the useful, perhaps surprising, topics they cover, including Scholarly Writing, Costume History and Fashion Design, Government Posters and Prints, Comics Studies, Hazards and Disaster Research, Open Access, Media Arts, and many others.


The library isn’t just a warehouse of resources, but an active learning space where librarians, faculty, students, and other patrons can collaborate to find creative approaches to teaching and learning. Consult with your subject librarian or others in the library while you’re designing your courses and assignments. Talk to them about innovative ways to integrate resources into your classroom. Bring your students to the library for hands-on learning in The Factory, Special Collections, or one of our available spaces where we can set up demonstrations, displays, or active learning activities tailored to your needs. Or invite a librarian to come to your classroom to share information about their areas of expertise as well as the resources and services that the Libraries offer.