Thing to Remember!
  • Books can be:
    (1) Popular (e.g., Harry Potter) or
    (2) Scholarly/academic (e.g., Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man)
  • Use the Library catalog to locate books in our collection.
  • There are several ways to search for items:
    (1) author's name (last name entered before the first name)
    (2) title of work (initial article — A, An, or The — omitted)

LOOP » Doing Research » Books

Finding Books

Books used for academic purposes tend to be highly specialized, focusing on one aspect of a topic. They are usually written by experts for others in the field and, therefore, use technical language. Additionally, authors of scholarly works list the references to research works that they used when writing the book. For example, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing (by Michael Taussig) and Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace) are both books that can be considered scholarly.

There are also popular books that are not heavily based on research. These types of books range from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series to Mourid Barghouti's I Saw Ramallah.

College libraries, including the Brooklyn College Library, usually stock more scholarly works than popular books. To search for either kind of book, you need to look in the Library's catalog. Instructions on how to do this are outlined below.

Searching CUNY+

  1. Decide whether you want to search for your book by...
    • Title: If you know the title of the book for which you are searching, select Title begins with... as the search type in the drop-down box on the left-hand side of the catalog. In the search box, type the title of the book. If the title begins with The, An, or A, leave it out. (So The Catcher in the Rye would be entered as Catcher in the Rye in the search box.) Click on the "Search" button.
    • Author: Select Author, last name first... from the search type menu in the catalog. Enter the author's name in reverse-word order, so that the last name appears before the first name. That is, if you're searching for books written by Jhumpa Lahiri, you would enter Lahiri, Jhumpa in the search box. Click on the "Search" button.
  2. Video tutorial for searching CUNY+ (catalog)
  3. If your book/author appears in the list of results, click on it. (For author searches, find the book you want and click on the title.) If it does not appear on the list, that means that the Brooklyn College Library does not own it.
  4. To find out whether the item is available, click on Brooklyn (or Brooklyn Reserve or Brooklyn Music) next to Call number in the item's record.
  5. On the holdings page, you will need to note several things:
    • Location: "Stacks" indicates items that can be checked out of the Library and taken home. "Reference" is a book that cannot be checked out and must be used only in the Library. "Reserve" indicates an item that can be checked out but is to be used only in the Library and only for up to 2 hours at a time.
    • Call number: This is the book's identification number. Write it down! ALL of it!
    • Item status: "Regular Loan" indicates that the item can be checked out for the regular period of 3 weeks. "Reserve Loan" means that the book can be checked out for 2 hours (or, sometimes, 3 days).
    • Due date: "Look On Shelf" signifies that the item has not been checked out of the Library and should, in theory, be found on the shelf. If there is a date under this heading, that means that the item is checked out and is due back on that date. Other possible messages are "Reported missing," "Searching," and "Not returned by patron" — all of which indicate that the item is not located on the shelf.
  6. You are now ready to locate the book in the Library by its location and call number.

Locating Books

The Brooklyn College Library uses the Library of Congress classification system to organize its material. For a tutorial on how to read these call numbers, consider checking out the call number tutorial.

For a list of locations & call numbers in the Library, see the Call Number Locations page, available from the Library homepage under "Library Locations."

Renewals & Returns

Books are returned to and renewed at the Circulation Desk on the 1st floor. Books can also be renewed online. For more information, see the Circulation page.