English at University

Intermediate level

Episode 8 - The Library

Episode 161031 / 31 Oct 2016

Episode 8 - The Library

New student Mary is settling into university life but still hasn't visited the most important place you'll need to go to, to help you with your studies. It's a great place for a bookworm like Mary – it's the library.

Language focus

Learn phrases about asking for help finding a book:

Please could you check if you have any of these books in stock?
Could reserve them for me please?
Could you put them by for me when they come in please?
When do you think they will be available?

Here are some other phrases you could use:

Could you see if you have any of these books available to borrow?
Could I book them for as soon as they next become free?
Could you set them aside for me when they get handed in?
Do you know when they are due to be returned? 

Vocabulary

Words and phrases about people who love books, and reading.

a bookworm
a bibliophile
hit the books 

Transcript

Narrator
Hello and welcome to English at University - the series that teaches some English phrases to help you through your first year of study abroad.
New student Mary is settling into university life but still hasn't visited the most important place you'll need to go to, to help you with your studies. It's a great place for a bookworm like Mary – it's the library. So Mary, have you got your library card with you?

Mary
Yes, I've got it thanks.

Narrator
And your reading list – the list of books you need to read for this year's course?

Mary
I've got it here… I just need to find the books now. Ah, here I am now – The Library.

Sharon
Next…

Mary
Sharon! Do you work here as well?

Sharon
Yes, we tend to double up round here. It's the funding cuts – the university's not got that much money – anyway dear, I suppose you're looking for some books?

Mary
Yes, that's right. Where can I find books about business please?

Sharon
Down there, turn left, then right, then to the end… under 'B'… B for biology…

Mary
and 'Business'. Thanks.
Oh no… oh dear… none of the books I need are here!

Narrator
Oh dear Mary. A bibliophile like you – someone who loves reading - needs to get to the library early if you want to get the books you need - but don't worry, I'm sure you can reserve them.

Mary
Reserve them? But what do I say?

Narrator
Go and ask Sharon to check if she has your books in stock – and if not ask if she can reserve them for you – and see if she can put them by for you… that means keep them for a period of time until you can collect them…

Mary
OK, I'll do just that. Thanks.

Sharon
Next! Oh it's you again… any luck?

Mary
No, I'm afraid not. I can't find anything. Please could you check if you have any of these in stock.

Sharon
No… no… no. Sorry, no. It looks like a DANIEL SMYTHE has them all out at the moment.

Mary
Oh dear. Well, perhaps you could reserve them for me please?

Sharon
Of course dear.

Mary
OK. So could you put them by for me when they come in please?

Sharon
Certainly dear. We'll send you an email when they're back in.

Mary
…and when do you think they will be available?

Sharon
Let's have a look… three weeks' time.

Mary
Three weeks? That's too late! I need them for my studies.

Narrator
Don't panic Mary, I'm sure we'll find a solution. But well done for trying to get hold of those important course text books. You've managed to ask for help and at least reserve the books you need, using these useful phrases…

Please could you check if you have any of these books in stock?

Could reserve them for me please?

Could you put them by for me when they come in please?

When do you think they will be available?

You can practise these phrases, pick up a few more plus learn some top tips about studying in the UK on our website at bbclearningenglish.com. Now, Mary's back in her room. Before she can hit the books – I mean study hard - she needs to get hold of some text books for the next lecture so what's she going to do?

Abi
Oh hi Mary. Something on your mind?

Mary
Yes, all the text books I need have been taken out of the library.

Abi
Oh never mind, there's never time to read those boring books anyway… but hold on… I think I did buy some of them when I was in the first year… let's have a look… there, how about this one?

Mary
'Mind Your Own Business'! – yes, that's one of them – it looks almost new. Thanks Abi!

Abi
Don't mention it. I don't think I ever read it. You can keep it. Now come on, it's time to eat.

More

If you're studying abroad and need help with your English, we have lots to offer on our BBC Learning English website.

If you need advice on how to make polite requests, let Rob, Neil and Finn help you.

Finally, have a look here for a quick crossword on libraries and books

Next

In the next episode, Mary goes to the canteen with Abi to get some food - but Mary hasn't quite worked out the system for getting what she wants.

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