Written by: Valerie Cummins

One student population that is regularly underserved and receives little support is the student veteran population; university life and coursework is vastly different from the experiences veterans of all branches have from their time in, and joining university after military service can require a great deal of adjustment, even for veterans who have had any experience with university before. Student veterans at the University of North Texas have a great deal of their university needs met through the Student Veteran Services office, where there is not just staff assistance, but regular support as a place student veterans hang out with each other. This post is intended as not just an introduction to the demographics of veteran students, which can inform their library needs, but is intended as a short guide to services and resources available within the UNT Libraries that student veterans may not be aware of that could be of use to them, from the perspective of a fellow veteran.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, student veterans are a particularly unique population; from the enrolment information the VA collected from 2017,  most student veterans are between the ages of 24 through 40, with only 15% being part of the traditional age for first time college students. 47% of all student veterans have children, with 47.3% being married. Student veterans are first-generation college students at a higher percentage- 62% for the whole demographic- compared to the 41.5% that makes up UNT’s undergraduate population. 52% of veterans using education benefits were enrolled in an undergraduate program and only 9% were using their benefits for a graduate program. The rest were in a two-year school or vocation, technical or nondegree program.  As a result, many student veterans are in a unique position, fitting several nontraditional student types. Beyond this post which covers some resources, any student veterans who are first generation or are in a graduate program may find this Scholar Speak post on resources for first generation students useful.

Help Yourself Campaign

A red enter keyboard key with the word "veteran" on it
A red enter keyboard key with the word “veteran” on it. By icetrayimages794410 from Vecteezy.com, using a free license.

The Help Yourself Campaign is a unique guide that covers a wide variety of potentially sensitive personal topics meant to help anyone be able to find books on the topic and related resources online, in the DFW area, and on the UNT campus. The topics cover everything from adjusting to college, to practicing mindfulness, with one topic tab covering veteran resources on their own. As a guide, it’s a great tool to use for finding things that cover hard topics that one may not want to directly bring up to a stranger.

Ask Us & Subject Librarians

Like many libraries, the UNT Libraries are not unique in offering reference and research services. Ask Us is a reference service that can help with questions about the library, its services, as well as offer basic assistance with things such as finding articles and getting started with research, offering the ability to connect and get assistance through anonymous chat, text, email, or in-person. Subject Librarians are librarians who focus on reference and research in their subjects, and as a result can provide more targeted assistance with identifying resources and doing advanced research. 

Specialized Reserve Equipment

Beyond just books reserved for classes, the libraries have a variety of specialized equipment available for check-out from the service desks that can be a help for a variety of studying needs, with Willis Library’s service desk offering the widest variety. These range from the project and math kits which include things such as rulers, protractors or glue sticks depending on the kit, vocabulary flashcards for all of the languages offered at UNT, translator devices, book stands and book lights, calculators, to lap desks, sensory kits to help with tuning out distractions or destressing, and kid kits that are available for checkout with a range of age-appropriate activities for younger kids if they join you for studying or searching for books at the library. While the services and resources available through the library are not infinite, they are vast, and any attempt to break them down will leave something out. Beyond these resources, the libraries additionally have many events that can be found in our calendar meant for all kinds of students.  

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