Knowing how to find books in our library is a learned skill set. No one shows up on the first day instinctively knowing how to find books! One of the most common question we get is about finding books, so you're not alone if the process is confusing. The best way to learn is by doing it. You can browse our guide for finding books to learn more about the process. You can always ask at the Information Desk or Reference Desk, too.
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. Feel free to wander the shelves and see what grabs your attention. (Most books in Political Science can be found on the Library's third floor.)
To find books in our library, search the Library Catalog - you can also search directly via the search box on the library's homepage. We also have a separate guide that describes how to search the catalog AND how to find books on the shelf.
When you find books that look useful, write down the Collection & the Call Number.
General Collection, call numbers A - PQ are on the Third Floor
General Collection, call numbers PR - Z are on the Second (Main) Floor
Oversize are on the Third Floor, Beck Hall side
Reference are on the Second (Main) Floor, Beck Hall side
Browsing are on the Second (Main) Floor near the entrance
Young Adult & Children's Books are on the First Floor
AV materials (DVDs, etc) are on the First Floor
Once you are in the right area, signs on the sides of the shelves will direct you further. The system is a little tricky to figure out at first, so don't hesitate to ask for directions at the Information Desk (main floor of the library).
Browse the shelves when you find a useful book. Books are shelved according to topic, so chances are you'll find other relevant books nearby.
You can check books out at the Information Desk. This page has information about loan periods, renewals, etc.
You can (and should) also search for books in other libraries. To do this, use the advanced search in the library catalog. Scroll down to select "Libraries WorldWide."
Sometimes people shy away from books because they are longer to read than a journal article. While this might be true, there are some tricks you can use to understand a book's structure and argument, so you DON'T have to read the whole thing. (Don't worry - this is totally legit!)