I suppose the most important place for a student is the library (bibliotek). When I was doing my bachelors degree I avoided it at all costs, but I now feel like the library is my second home. Even more worryingly, I actually did a celebratory dance, when the book I had requested came into the library.
I use both the university library and my local library. Living far away it helps to use both, usually for different things.
Valla Library (Linköping)
Valla library is located unsurprisingly on Valla campus, in D hus. It was one of the first building I went into when I came to the university as it’s next to the Zenit building, which houses the international office. Along the side of D building is a small park, which you can see from the windows if you pick the right seat. It took a little while to get my student ID set up, a necessary but painful task (as the student service desk is always so busy).
The library is great, there is space to work in groups (which I have often) and desks where you can find more solitude. Coffee is permitted but food is not. I have found that lunch is a good time to find a quiet table as most people are eating somewhere else. Most of my lectures are in the Key building which is opposite so lunch is also a good time to go across to the library to return books or collect new ones. If you request books online they can be picked up from the front of the library. In the first term, the students on my course were given a library talk ,where we were told how best to use the online library system. All of the staff that I’ve spoken to in the Library have been so nice and helpful and there’s such a calm atmosphere; it’s a great place to find a corner to sit and study or even take a quick power nap between lectures.
Hultsfred is my closest town with a library. When I first moved I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to join the library without a personal number (Swedish identification number) but in fact all I needed was a letter with my address.
I don’t have an internet supply at home- most of the landlines were taken out when WiFi became popular in Sweden- so I use mobile data. This is fine for most things- checking my email, etc. but when I need to download large files I usually go to the library. It’s always warm in there and the people are really kind.
In the last few years a lot have immigrants have moved to Hultsfreds Kommun so it’s not unusual to hear people speaking languages other than Swedish, often it’s English that I hear. This was actually quite a relief when I first got my library card as I was worried that communicating would be impossible. It’s good to practice my Swedish with the library staff, knowing they all speak English and are very patient with people who don’t speak Swedish.
In addition to the internet, which has been a life saver, Hultsfreds library has a printer. Until beginning my masters I hadn’t realized what a difference reading off of a screen makes, opposed to paper. Printing costs 1kr per sheet of black and white or 3kr for colour. The price for black and white is the same at the university but I haven’t yet set up a printing account there.
Another perk of having a local library card is having access to Swedish language books. When I first arrived I borrowed ‘Colloquial Swedish’ to help me learn. This was helpful along with watching Swedish films. I can rent films from the library too. In actual fact most films are in English with Swedish subtitles but children’s film are normally dubbed and there are some Swedish films. Some of the Swedish films have been really good, others not so much… I’m viewing them as an additional facet to my Swedish education.