Student Success shelves organize self-help books on first floor in Cabell Library

April 17, 2023
Josie Krasny browses books on the Student Success shelf at James Branch Cabell Library.

Everyone needs a little help at some time. You may be a first-year student, away from home and on your own for the first time, in need of some help with adulting. Or, you may be poised for graduate study and need test preparation guidance to get ready for the LSAT or the MCAT. VCU’s librarians are available for conversations and advice. And, VCU Libraries also has a self-help book section to help too.

The student success section located on the first floor of Cabell Library houses a plethora of books on navigating college life, from your first day of class, all the way to securing your first job. Topics of books include academic reading and writing savvy, time management, money matters, study tips, fitness and health, listening skills and research and citing. These books can be borrowed for 28 days at a time. 

Titles include

  • “The Everything College Survival Book” by Michael S. Malone
  • “Listening: The Forgotten Skill” by Madelyn Burley-Allen
  • “Academic Reading” by Kathleen T. McWhorter
  • “Resumes for Dummies” by Laura DeCarlo
  • “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Managing Your Time” by Jeff Davidson
  • “LinkedIn in 30 Minutes” by Angela Rose
  • “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” by Beth Kobliner
  • “The Contemporary Guide to Careers in Sports” by Glenn M. Wong
  • “Mindful Eating 101: A Guide to Healthy Eating in College and Beyond” by Susan Albers
  • “Cite It Right: The SourceAid Guide to Citation, Research, and Avoiding Plagiarism” by Julia Mary Johns, Sarah Keller and Tom Fox

Student Success Librarian M. Teresa Doherty said the books she would have most liked to check out as an undergraduate student include subjects such as dealing with a roommate, taking notes in class and applying for scholarships. 

“It’s not just knowing that one's available, it’s how to present yourself as the perfect recipient of that award, how do you frame your experiences in order to be the person that’s successful in going for a scholarship or opportunity,” Doherty said.

In addition to general topics, in recent years, the collection has been adding books, databases, and other resources geared toward first-generation and international students. Being a first-generation student herself has helped her focus on those specific needs, Doherty said. 

“Part of that is just reassuring folks that, yes, you deserve to be here. This is a place that you can — and should — make use of,” Doherty said.

Students can access test prep materials through library-owned databases. Visit the VCU Libraries website ( and click the "Databases" under the gold search box to find Peterson’s Test Prep, which has resources to help students prepare for the MCAT, the LSAT, the GRE and many other professional certifications including becoming a cosmetologist, paramedic, firefighters and more. For even more resources, check out the Develop Study Skills & Time Management Skills guide created by VCU Libraries. 

Looking for a book the library doesn’t have? Request it through the interlibrary loan, or make a recommendation to the library staff that we purchase it for our collections.


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