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Resources for Study

Cowles Library

Cowles Library ( is the main library for the University.   The Library provides extensive print and electronic resources used in class assignments and research.  Our faculty librarians and Library staff work with researchers and students at every stage of the research process and provide instruction in cutting-edge research methods.   Librarians teach several First Year Experience and J-Term classes and offer a specialized course (LIBR 046) which focuses on effective research, information literacy and critical thinking skills.

Cowles Library is the largest private college academic library in Iowa.  Print resources include over half a million books, government documents and scholarly journals.  A rapidly growing e-book collection of more than 400,000 volumes is available.  For online research, Drake students and faculty have immediate access to over 250 electronic databases, covering a wide range of subjects and academic disciplines.  The high quality and broad scope of the Library's electronic resources is a distinguishing feature of the Drake experience.  Cowles was the first library in Iowa to offer a "discovery service" called SuperSearch that accesses multiple databases in a single search.  The Library provides access to some databases usually only found at major research universities.

Cowles Library is a member of the resource sharing Central Iowa Academic Library Cooperative, and a founding member of the Central Iowa Collaborative Collections Initiative (CI-CCI) which provides enhanced sharing of collections among five academic libraries. The Library provides provides no-cost interlibrary loan services to Drake students that link Drake to a global network of libraries. These relationships allow students to rapidly obtain resources they need not found in the core Library collection.  

Students can obtain assistance in person, online or even by text message through our popular Ask a Librarian service at The Library supports mobile device access and off campus access for all our electronic databases and e-books.  Subject and class-specific research guides, compiled by Librarians and Drake faculty, are found at

The Library provides high-quality study spaces that include quiet study areas, study rooms, group study space, computer collaboration equipment, whiteboards and a popular campus cafe.  An "After-Hours" portion of the Library is open for study when the Library itself is closed.  The Library has the largest general-purpose computer lab on campus, with 50 Mac and Windows computers.  The Speaking Studio, built in 2014, allows students to practice and record presentations and speeches.  The Library collaborates with other departments to provide direct academic support through the Writing Workshop (, the Speaking Center (, and with Academic Achievement to support tutoring in courses such as Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Psychology and assistance with time management and study skills (  As previously noted, the Librarians are Drake faculty members who provide assistance and advice to students at every stage of research.

Many campus groups and organizations meet in the Library and a wide variety of cultural events and speakers are supported throughout the academic year.

Cowles Library is being extensively renovated in a multi-year project that began in 2012 and is expected to run until 2017.  In 2012, the After-Hours space, the Lower Commons group study area and the Cowles Cafe were finished.  In 2013, the Cowles Library University Archives and Special Collections project was completed and now provides the opportunity for students to engage in primary research in government, politics, law and society and provides practical experience in Archives to student interns .  In subsequent phases, renovations are expected to include a new computing facility, renovations throughout the quiet study areas and a variety of new group and individual study rooms. 

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