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Services for Chemistry Graduate Students, Offered by the Chemistry Library

Welcome to the Chemistry Library

The Chemistry Library offers a multitude of resources to assist you in your research and teaching while you are at the University of Pennsylvania. Below is a brief overview of the services the library offers to chemistry graduate students. Please contact Judith Currano, Head - Chemistry Library, for a more in-depth introduction to the materials and services available to you.

Services for Teaching Assistants

Course Reserves

  • To have course materials, readings, problem set solutions, etc. scanned and uploaded to a Canvas or Blackboard site, contact Judith Currano at (215) 746-5886 or
  • To have books and other materials placed on reserve for your students in the library, contact Elaine Hendricks, Library Service Assistant, at (215) 898-2177 or
  • The Chemistry Library Reading Room is equipped with two whiteboard walls, as well as smaller whiteboards and marker sets that you may borrow at the circulation desk. We encourage you to hold office hours and review sessions in the Reading Room.

Using the Physical Library

The Chemistry Library is located on the fifth floor of the Chemistry Department, in the Class of 1973 Wing. The library houses an extensive collection of circulating books and non-circulating print journals and reference books, in addition to its many electronic resources. Graduate students are given a semester-long loan period and may renew materials in person or online.

The Computer Teaching and Resource Room in the Chemistry Library consists of eight computers equipped with Microsoft Office, ChemDraw, Maple, Photoshop, EndNote and all electronic information resources needed for chemical research. Workshops and instruction sessions are taught in this room several times a semester. During library hours and when the room is not reserved for an instruction session, the computers are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.

Library keys are available to current Chemistry department faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students. These keys will allow you to access the current and bound journal collections twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. To sign out a library key, please see Judith Currano or Mildred Collins in the Chemistry Library on any weekday between 9AM and 5PM. You will need to bring your PennCard and a $5 deposit, which is refunded when the key is returned.

Group study rooms seating four people are available to be reserved for two-hour time slots at any time that the library is open. The rooms are equipped with a white board and large, wall-mount LCD monitor, and you can project either your own laptop or the dedicated PC in the room using the monitor. White board markers are on reserve at the circulation desk and can be borrowed for two-hour intervals. You may reserve a study room up to two weeks in advance, and walk-ins are welcome, provided there are no advance reservations for the room.

New books are on display in the lounge area of the Chemistry Library Reading Room. They remain on display for one week, after which they are sent to the circulating stacks. The date on which they will be available to be borrowed appears on the colored slip inside the book. If you wish to be the first to check out a new book, write your name and e-mail address on the slip, and we will hold the book for you.

Using Penn's Electronic Library

Electronic Information Resources Explore our digital databases, e-journals, e-books, e-reference works, and more. Click here for an overview of electronic scitech holdings at Penn, or view a selection of chemistry specific resources.

Off-campus Access to all of the electronic chemistry resources, with the exception of the Cambridge Structural Database, is available via the Library's Proxy Server. For information on using specific chemistry resources, such as SciFinder Scholar and Beilstein or Gmelin CrossFire, from off-campus, please refer to or contact Judith Currano at (215) 898-2177 or

STN Substructure Searching Can't find a preparation for the compound you want? Interested in finding a compound with a similar structure to your target molecule? Substructure searching on the STN database is available to current Penn affiliates only after 5PM on most weekdays.
Please make an appointment with Judith Currano at least two days in advance by calling (215) 898-2177 or by e-mailing

New Books Plus allows you to virtually peruse new books received, either by subject area or by campus library.

Learning to Find Chemical Information

CHEM 601: Chemical Information Organization and Retrieval is a half-credit course required of every Chemistry graduate student. It seeks to introduce principles of chemical information searching, as well as practical experience using the print and electronic resources provided by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. For more information about the course, contact Judith Currano at (215) 746-5886 or

Workshops covering a variety of databases and other electronic products are offered each semester by the Science & Engineering Libraries. They are targeted specifically to Penn's sci-tech researchers and are excellent introductions to new acquisitions, as well as being great refreshers for familiar resources. If CHEM 601 passed you by in a blur, these workshops can serve as useful reminders of methods of locating particular kinds of information.

One-on-one personalized research consultations/orientations are available to you in your office, at the library, or over the phone or e-mail. Contact Judith Currao, Head - Chemistry Library, at (215) 746-5886 or to set up an appointment or if you are having any problems searching for or obtaining materials.

Obtaining Material Not Held at the Chemistry Library

Even if the Chemistry Library does not have the information that you need, we can get it for you from another campus location or another university's library. Visit for a list of delivery and access services available at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Penn Library Delivers items from other campus libraries to the Chemistry Library for your convenient pick-up.

  • BorrowDirect+ is an "expedited interlibrary loan" service that lets you search a combined catalog and directly request books not currently available at Penn; most books arrive within 4 working days. The University of Pennsylvania participates in two borrowing consortia: Borrow Direct searches the catalogs of major research library partners; and EZ-Borrow searches the catalogs of over 60 libraries in Pennsylvania and nearby states.

  • Interlibrary Loan If you need a book or journal article that Penn and its Borrow Direct and EZ-Borrow partners do not own, the Library's Interlibrary Loan department will be happy to help you obtain it in a timely fashion.

  • Purchase Requests If the Chemistry Library lacks a critical text or reference item in your area of research, we will consider purchasing it for our collection. Contact Judith Currano (215-746-5886, with purchase requests.

YOUR INPUT IS WELCOMED! For more information or to suggest any new services or resources, please contact:

Judith Currano - Head, Chemistry Library
Phone: (215) 746-5886