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Knowledge Integration: Find books

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About this page

This page contains the following information:

  • direct link to search the library catalogue
  • how can I get my books during COVID-19?
  • how can I find my books?
  • library catalogue search function
  • placing holds and recalls
  • not in the catalogue?
  • should we order a copy?
  • on-campus book return bins locations
  • new books
  • core texts for the discipline
  • eReference material
  • eBooks and eBook collections
  • questions? Contact me

Library catalogue

Search for books or articles


Advanced search

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How can I get my books during COVID-19?


During the shut down due to the pandemic you can request and pick up your books following these instructions. Library staff are working to meet the needs of students and faculty for print materials while ensuring that safety protocols are maintained.


How can I find my books?


Finding books in a library catalogue used to be a simple process. And for some, regular library patrons, it still is. But for others, it can be an increasingly frustrating experience as the catalogue grows more intricate with layers of overlapping connectivity. 

Most university libraries use the Library of Congress (often referred to as LC) Subject Classification System to catalogue the individual items in their collections. An advantage of this system is that books on the same subject are grouped together, which is why browsing the shelves is often a rewarding experience. Books are arranged in call number order on shelves, which are evenly spaced within a bay, (a bay is one unit of shelving), and the bays are lined up in one continuous row, which is known as a range. Given the size of the collection, and the physical constraints of the building, collections are often split. They end at the back of the room only to start up again one floor above. As confusing as it seems to the newcomer, it is organized in a logical order. Directories beside the elevators or near service desks will help you navigate, and you can always ask for help.

When you find the book you want in the catalogue, you can place a hold on it, and select the service desk of your choice to pick it up at, thereby eliminating the need to search on the shelf yourself.


The library catalogue search function


. . . is not as mysterious as it may first appear. For those who want to explore what the library has to offer, then you need to go straight away into the Advanced search option. Here you can select from a different set of library collections, filter on a particular detail, select the resource type, limit the date range, and use the operators, AND, OR, NOT. You can maneuver from over a hundred thousand results down to 300, and then down to fifteen in three simple steps. 


Placing holds and recalls


The difference between placing a hold and placing a recall is whether the book has an 'in library' status, or if it is out of loan to a patron. When the status of a book is 'in library', then the book is sitting on the shelf. However, it could be in Guelph, at Laurier, in the Annex (our storage facility), in Davis, or one of the university college libraries. Therefore, when you place a hold on a book you are instructing the system, which then notifies staff, to transfer the book from whichever location to the library service desk of your choice, for you to pick up. Depending on the location the book could be available that same day, or two to three days after you place the hold. The patron will receive an email notification when the book is available to be picked up.

Placing a recall is your right as a good library patron. I have heard from so many patrons that they will not place a recall on a book out of some kind of courtesy, thinking that the other person may have a greater need. I say hogwash. If you want a book that is signed out, then recall it, and don't worry about calculating the need for a particular book. The person can always recall it back. Since the book is signed out, it may be signed out for term (four months), or for two weeks, depending on the patron's status. This means that the book might be due the next day (If it was signed out 13 days ago), or a different date that reflects when the book was charged out. (A charged out book is the same as being signed out.) When a patron recalls a book, that book is then due one week from when the recall is placed. As with a hold, the patron will receive an email notification when the book is available to be picked up. 


Not in the catalogue?


Use our interlibrary loans (ILL) form to request books and/or journal articles. Books may take up to a week to 10 days to arrive. You can pick these up at the Circulation Desk in one of the libraries. Journal articles are scanned and sent to your University of Waterloo email address within 3-7 days. Allow yourself time to plan for these delivery dates.


Should we order a copy?


You can request a book that we do not have in our collection, and you think we should. The library supports the research and teaching needs of students and faculty. Requests are reviewed and approved by the subject specialist.


On campus book bin locations


There are several book bins on campus, where you can return University of Waterloo library books, as well as books from the University of Guelph, and Wilfrid Laurier. These are located on campus in a number of buildings.

New books