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Research Guides

Library & Research FAQs: Finding Books

How do I find out if the library has a book?

How do I find out if the library has a book?

Using the Discovery search on the library homepage, type in the title, author, or keywords for the book you're looking for, and select the check boxes for "Books" and "Only show items from the catalog."

Another place to search is the Library Catalog, which you can find under the Resources menu on our homepage. You can use it to find both physical books and ebooks.

  • If you know the title and/or author, enter it in the search box.
  • If you're looking for books on a certain topic, enter one or more keywords for it in the search box.

Library Catalog

Use this box to search the Geisel Library catalog for books and other materials in the library collection.

 

We may have it as a physical book book/serial iconor as an ebook ebook icon.

If it's a physical book and checked in (status of AVAILABLE), use the "How do I locate a physical book on the shelf?" FAQ for help, or ask a librarian.

If you can't find the book you're looking for, ask a librarian or look at the FAQ "How do I get a book the library doesn't have?" below.


Does the library have my textbook?

Does the library have my textbook?

We usually do not carry textbooks, unless the professor has put a copy of their own on reserve in the library for their class. Feel free to search our catalog and check.

My professor says a book/DVD is on reserve for my class. How do I get it?

My professor says a book/DVD is on reserve for my class. How do I get it?

  • Stop by the Circulation Desk and tell the worker there the name of your course or professor, and of the book/DVD.
  • You'll need your student ID.
  • The checkout period is usually 2 hours.
  • You'll need to use it in the library.

How do I locate a physical book on the shelf?

How do I locate a physical book on the shelf?

Prefer a flowchart? ​Click here.

  1. Find the book in the Library Catalog. (See the "How do I find out if the library has a book?" FAQ for help.)
  2. Check the Status.
    • AVAILABLE: it should be on the shelf, and you can check it out.
    • LIB USE ONLY: it should be on the shelf, and you can use it in the library, but can't check it out.
    • DUE XX-XX-XX: it is currently checked out and due on the date listed.
    • NEW BOOK DISPLAY / OTHER DISPLAY: it is on one of our displays, but you can still check it out. Ask at the circulation desk if you need help locating the proper display.
    • Something else: If the status is something else and you're not sure what it means, ask at the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk.
  3. If the book isn't checked out, take note of the Location and Call Number.
    • Location tells you which section of the library it is in.
    • Call Number tells you where on the shelf in that section it is.
    • Example: Most of our books are in the General Collection, and QL's are on the upper level.
    •  catalog record
  4. Go to the Location in the library.
    • General Collection:
      • If the call number starts with A through DK, on the Main Level past the Reference Desk.
      • If the call number​ starts with DK through LT, on the Upper Level along the back wall of the library.
      • If the call number​ starts with M through TX, on the Upper Level along the front wall of the library.
      • If the call number​ starts with U through Z, on the Lower Level along the front wall of the library and to the right as you approach it, in the moveable shelving.
    • Reference: on the Main Level, the wooden bookcases around the Reference Desk in the center of the library. Call numbers start with A on the outside of the short shelves on the left, and wrap around to end with Z on the outside of the short shelves near the drinking fountain.
    • Reserves: at the Circulation Desk on the Main Level. Ask the worker there, and you're done!
    • Reading Room: on the Main Level, the room that looks out on Abbey Church. The Reading Room collection is on the short wall nearer the library entrance.
    • Curriculum (Lower Level): on the Lower Level, in the shelving to the left if you walk off the elevator.
    • Curriculum Juvenile (Lower Level): on the Lower Level, in a little room just to the left if you walk off the elevator.
    • Oversize: on the Lower Level in the moveable shelving, or on the Upper Level in the shelving by the railings overlooking the atrium.
    • Something else: a location other than those listed, ask at the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk.
  5. Look at the labels on the ends of the shelves to find the row containing your call number.
    1. Follow the letters alphabetically. For example, HD will be past the H's, the HA's, the HB's, and the HC's.
    2. Follow the numbers numerically. For example, HD4904 will be past the HD's with 2- and 3-digit numbers after it. Rather than going digit by digit, this is four thousand nine hundred four, so you'll have to go far past forty-nine and four hundred ninety to get to the four thousands.
  6. Once you've found the row that contains your call number, look at the books on the shelves to hone in on your number.
    1. Any other letters and numbers, continue to follow alphabetically and numerically.
    2. From the bottom of a shelf, numbering continues at the top of the next column.
  7. And hopefully you've found your book! If you don't see it, feel free to ask at the Reference Desk. The book might be missing, or it sometimes helps to have another set of eyes.

How do I read a call number?

How do I read a call number?

  • Follow the letters alphabeticallyFor example, HD will be past the H's, the HA's, the HB's, and the HC's.
  • Follow the numbers numericallyFor example, HD4904 will be past the HD's with 2- and 3-digit numbers after it. Rather than going digit by digit, this is four thousand nine hundred four, so you'll have to go far past forty-nine and four hundred ninety to get to the four thousands.
  • Any other letters and numbers, continue to follow alphabetically and numerically.

See our Understanding Call Numbers guide for more information: 

How do I check out a book?

How do I check out a book?

Bring the book and your student ID to the Circulation Desk. The loan period is 30 days.

  • Some books you cannot check out, but can use in the library. Mostly, these are the books in the Reference collection, the wooden shelves in the middle of the main level.
  • If the book's status in the library catalog is "AVAILABLE," you can check it out.

How long can I borrow this book / DVD?

How long can I borrow this book / DVD?

Students may borrow books for 30 days and films for 7 days. For more information, review the Circulation section of our Policies.

How do I get a book the library doesn't have?

How do I get a book the library doesn't have?

If we don't own a book--or if we do and it's already checked out--we can request it from a different library.

1. Use WorldCat Discovery (linked below) to search for the book. This catalog searches thousands of other libraries.

  • If you know the exact title, it helps to put it in quotation marks. 
  • You can also do keyword searches if you're looking for books on a specific topic.

2. Once you've found the book you want, click on the "Submit an ILL Request" button under "Availability."

Interlibrary loan button in WorldCat

3. You'll be prompted to log in to ILLiad, which is the system we use for interlibrary loan. Sign in with your SAC username, and your ID number with the capital "S" in front of it (e.g. S123456).

4. Unless this is your first time logging in to ILLiad, a Book Request form should automatically be filled out. All you need to do is click "Submit Request."

  • If this is your first time logging in to ILLiad, a contact information form will pop up instead. You don't need to add or change information; just click "Submit."
  • Go back to WorldCat and click the "Submit an ILL Request" button again, and this time a Book Request form should appear filled out. Click "Submit Request."
*Alternatively, you can log in to your Interlibrary Loan account from the library homepage and fill out a book request form yourself with the title, author, etc. In the menu on the left, under "Make New Request," choose "Book."

How long does it take to get a book I requested through interlibrary loan?

How long does it take to get a book I requested through interlibrary loan?

It depends on what day of the week you requested it, how many other libraries own the book, where they are, and how new the book is (how much it is in demand). Requests usually arrive in one to two weeks.

  • If you request it on a Friday, it'll take longer to be processed. Our interlibrary loan specialist doesn't work on the weekends, which is similar to most other libraries.
  • If other libraries in New Hampshire own it, you're likely to get it sooner than if we get it from a library across the country.
  • If you want to check on the status of your request, you can log in to your interlibrary loan account or ask a librarian. A status of "Request Sent" means we're waiting on another library to fill the request.
  • You will receive an email when the book arrives, and you can pick it up at the Circulation Desk.

How can I tell if a book is scholarly?

How can I tell if a book is scholarly?

Looking at several aspects of the book can help you determine if it's scholarly/academic.

Author

What are the author's credentials? Do they have an advanced degree? Are they a researcher/professor in the subject matter the books is about? 

If the author is a journalist or writer, they are probably writing for a more general audience rather than for scholars.

Publisher

A lot of publishers specialize in publishing scholarly books. If it's a university press, that's a good sign it's scholarly. Not familiar with the publisher? Google it and see what they specialize in.

Examples of scholarly/academic publishers: Cambridge University Press, University of Minnesota Press, Routledge, Wiley, Taylor & Francis, World Scientific.

References Are the sources cited? They might be in the form of footnotes at the bottoms of pages, end notes at the end of chapters, or end notes or a bibliography at the end of the book. Academic books have in-text citations more frequently than non-academic books.
Content How specialized are the chapter titles? Is there jargon and subject-specific terminology? Are there figures like maps, charts, or graphs?

Want a second opinion? Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk.

How do I cite a book?

How do I cite a book?

That depends on which citation style you're using. Here are some examples:

MLA 8th

Peter, John. Vladimir's Carrot: Modern Drama and the Modern Imagination. U Chicago P, 1987.

APA 7th

Hess, F. M., & Kelly, A. P. (Eds.). (2011). Carrots, sticks, and the bully pulpit: Lessons from a half-century of federal efforts to improve America's schools. Harvard University Press.

Chicago: Notes-Bibliography

Burhans, Dirk E. Crunch! A History of the Great American Potato Chip. Madison, WI: Terrace Books, 2008.

Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk, or see our Citing Sources research guide for more help.