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Writing Seminar 123/124: Fight the Power

Getting Books Not Available at Princeton

Use one of the services below to order books not currently available at the Princeton Library.

🔥 Hot Tips

  • Take a picture of the map with the call number and title visible. Use this map on your phone to navigate to the book. 
  • When you find a great book for your research area, look around at the other books on the shelves around it. Since books are organized by topic, chances are if you find one you'll find more. 
  • Use the bookmark feature in the catalog like a shopping cart. You'll be able to see everything you thought was interesting and email the results to yourself. 

Library Catalog: What's In It

The library catalog is a listing of everything that we have at Princeton University Library. This includes not only books, but lots of other types of items like: 

  • Audio files
  • Coins
  • Data files
  • Journals
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Musical scores
  • Senior theses
  • Videos
  • Visual material

Think about searching the catalog as searching for the container. For example, you are not going to find specific journal articles in the catalog, but you will find the titles of the journals themselves.

Search the Library Catalog

Search the Library Catalog

Find books in the library can be weird and challenging the first time. I promise that by the end of the semester you will be a pro at finding resources at Firestone. Remember there is always a librarian to help you, just ask!

Once you selected your book, you can click on the :Where to find it" hyperlink underneath the library location to get a detailed map of the location of the book in the stacks. 

Physical Books: Finding & Using Them

How Books are Organized

Princeton University Library uses Library of Congress call numbers to catalog and organize its books. This means that books are grouped together based on their primary topics, which librarians call subject headings. 

Physically Finding the Book

When you find a book in the catalog, click on the title. This takes you to a page called the record. It has information about the book like author, publication year, if there's an online version available, and the call number and location. 

In the catalog record, click on the "where to find it" button and a map will appear to show you how to get to the location of the book. 

🚫 Request Button🚫 : You may see this button and be tempted to click it as it seems easier than wandering the stacks. Unless this book is at ReCAP or the Forrestal Annex, it is MUCH faster to physically go to the library to get the book. When you click the request button to have a book paged, it goes into a queue and our staff will get the book and bring it to the circulation desk for you. This can take 3-5 days. Unless you can wait that long, it's better to retrieve it yourself. 

Checking Out the Book

When you find a book you want to take with you out of the library, take it to the circulation desk. In Firestone that's on the first floor. In many of the branches it's on the main floor right by the entrance/exit to the library. You'll need the book and your prox. 

NOT Checking Out the Book

If you take a book off the shelf and you don't want it, don't put it back on the shelf. Instead, leave it on one of the nearby reshelving carts. This ensures that the book is placed back in the correct order, and it lets us know that the books are being used (important for when we make decisions about sending books off site).