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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Research at the Library: 1. Library Catalog

Learn to think like a librarian! This guide is an introduction (or a refresher) to using the library to find books and journal articles.

Finding Books

The library catalog contains records for the 14 million volumes held in all of the University's departmental libraries. It includes:

  • Books
  • Journals and magazines
  • Music recordings and DVDs
  • Video games
  • Electronic resources
  • Maps
  • and more!

You can use the library catalog to view the location and availability of items. Once you have created a library account, you can also request items for pick up at your favorite library or to be sent to you through campus mail. 

For instructions on creating a library account, click here.

Your library account will allow you to keep track of items that you have checked out, renew checked out items, view library fines, tag items, and save your favorite items to view later.

Below is a step-by-step guide to the library catalog.

1. First, go to the library homepage, Scroll down to the icons under the orange bar and select the top choice, an orange "I" with the words "U of I Collection."

2. Next, type in the word that you want to use to do your search, such as "Jane Eyre" for the novel Jane Eyre. Limit the search by "Library Catalog."

3. Next, take a look at the results. There are over 415 results. We need to narrow the search. Look at the options listed on the left side of the screen under "Tweak your resources." Those are called "filters." Under the heading "Resource Type," click on "Books."

4. Click on the title of the first result. It will open the catalog record. 

5. Now you are on the catalog record. You will need to sign in to request the items. Scroll down to the the section called "Get It" and note the yellow box that says "Please sign in to request catalog items" and click "Sign in."

6. Click on "University of Illinois Users." For more information about creating a library account, visit this guide on Using the Catalog.

7. Enter your NetID and password.

8. Once you have logged into your library account, you can now click "Request"!

9. A form will pop up. You will need to select the location where you would like to pick up the book. Then, if your request is time-sensitive, specify the date when you will no longer need the item. Finally, place your request!

Hands on Activity

  1. After viewing this page, start at the Library Homepage.
  2. Navigate to the Library Catalog and log into your library account.
  3. Locate one item and see how you could request it through the library catalog.