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New Student Orientation: Back to School Workshops


The Penn Libraries offer workshops on various topics throughout the school year.  Scheduled during the week of NSO and through the first week of class, "Back to School" Workshops are designed to give new and returning students an introduction to library services and resources, offer them a deeper dive into some of our library collections, and also give them skills, tools, and information to help them get a head start on the school year.

This year, workshops were offered in four different tracks: Library How-To, Discover the Libraries, Student Toolkit, and Making and Creating. Please see below for videos of some of our workshops. 

Workshop Tracks

Library How-To


Learn about some of the library's many services and resources and how to find them.

Discover the Libraries


Join Penn Librarians for a closer look at some of our amazing collections.

Student Toolkit


Discover new tools, tips, and techniques for study, research, and collaboration.

Making and Creating


Pick up new skills and bring your creative ideas to fruition.

Library How-To Videos

Access@Home: Integrations and Tips for Getting What You Need

Your Libraries are a click away! Learn how to connect with the resources, software, databases, and expertise you need for a successful semester in this 20 minute overview featuring integrations like Google Scholar, Zotero, and Lean Library.

Finding and Using Primary Source Material at Penn

Primary sources (first-hand accounts of a topic) can enhance almost any research work that a student will do. But don't think this type of research is just for history majors! Archival repositories hold the papers of activists, authors, artists, doctors and nurses, educators, lawyers, politicians, and scientists just to name a few. If you will be writing research papers and want to include primary sources in your research, this workshop is for you! Learn about finding aids, where you can find archival collections at Penn, and what to expect when you visit the reading room

Intro to Penn Research Guides

What is a LibGuide and how do I find one that's relevant to my information need? Just as there are subject librarians for every discipline at Penn, there are library research guides, or, LibGuides, that feature a multitude of different resources and fields of study. Find out how to navigate and make the most of them. (15 minutes)

Discover the Libraries Videos

Fisher Fine Arts Library Orientation

Drop in to this brief session to meet Fisher Fine Arts Library staff and learn about the collection, the materials library, and the Common Press. Open to anyone interested in art, architecture, and design resources.

Intro to the Libraries for New Nursing Students

Welcome to the World's number 1 School of Nursing! Richard James, the Penn Libraries Nursing Liaison Librarian will give a short introduction to the many resources available that support undergraduate learning and research, focusing particularly on the collections and services of the Biomedical Library.

The Kislak Center Unmasked

The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts preserves thousands of documents, books, and artifacts dating from the ancient world to our own moment. Join Kislak staff for a brief virtual tour of some highlights, and a discussion of ways that students can do original research in our collections. Students in any field and at any level, undergraduate and graduate, welcome!

Music Library Orientation

Informal exploration of music library study resources: special welcome to new grad students but open to anyone interested in in music study at Penn.

Student Toolkit Videos

Getting Together While Staying Apart: Tips for Using Online Collaboration Platforms

Collaborating in a virtual environment doesn't have to mean you you are limited to video conferencing when working with fellow students on class and other projects. In this session we'll explore some of the free online collaboration platforms beyond traditional video conferencing services like Zoom and BlueJeans with a focus on whiteboard apps that allow the import of media into shared whiteboard space for a variety of uses like mind-mapping, project planning and storyboarding.  The apps we  look at are web browser based and available on laptop, desktop and mobile devices.

Omeka Orientation: How to Use This Web Publishing Platform

Omeka is a web platform that makes it easy to create online exhibits. Learn how researchers, classes, and organizations have used Omeka to share their work, build a digital exhibit, tell a story, or explore interactive elements.

Virtual Mindfulness Workshop

Take a break from preparing for fall semester and/or from your busy work day by participating in a complimentary guided meditation workshop, led by Sandi Herman, a mindfulness educator from Campus Health. No registration required. To join the virtual meditation, go to on Wednesday August 26th from 12pm to 1pm.

Making and Creating Videos

Halloween-ify Your Face with Photoshop

Use Photoshop to make yourself ready for Halloween. Give yourself fangs, glowing eyes, or scars. Turn a friend into a zombie or a circus clown. And more! No prior Photoshop experience is needed.

Intro to Image Editing with Photopea

Let’s edit our photos with Photopea, a totally free, online photo editor! This workshop is designed for students who are totally new to digital image-editing and just need a straightforward and practical way to get started. We will learn to navigate the workspace, adopt non-destructive editing techniques, and understand common image file types. Explore how to adjust the tonal range in your photographs, try out selective color editing, and more!