How To Search for Items at the Library

Finding what you need at the library can be overwhelming. Each library is unique with its own cataloging system, search engines, and other tools. Here is a quick and easy guide for how to search for books at the Gottesman Libraries using our website.

First, begin at the Gottesman Libraries homepage. Be sure to choose “TC Catalog (EDUCAT)” instead of “CU Catalog (CLIO)“. The CU catalog will search all of Columbia’s libraries except for Teachers College and Columbia University Law School (Pegasus).

If you are just browsing by subject, click “Keyword” or “Subject”. If you know the author, call number, or title of the book that you want, search using those tabs.

Library books have various locations and privileges of use. If the location of a book says MAIN, it is located in the stacks, on one of the five floors of the library. It is available to be read in the library or checked out by students and staff members. If the location says RESERVE, it is available to be checked out for two hours at a time, and is located behind the front desk on the first floor. Reserve books may be taken out of the building when checked out, and can be renewed for an additional two hours.

Books whose locations are described as CURR, JUV, NEW FACULTY, and TCANA are available to be checked out just like main library books, but are located on the shelves in the reading rooms.  There is a directory for where each of these types of books are located at the front desk. CURR and JUV are children’s books and are located in the second floor reading room. TCANA and NEW FACULTY books are written by TC graduates and are located in the third floor reading room.  OVERSIZE books are in the second floor stacks. REFERENCE books are for library use only, and are located on the first floor reading room-these are not behind the desk like reserve books, but are in their own stacks by the computers. If a book is in CLOSED STACKS, it must be retrieved by a librarian from the archives.  There will be a link next to the book’s call number for this to be requested.

To see if a book is available, look at the box under STATUS.  If a book is available, the box will be blank.  If a book is checked out, the status will reveal the due date of that book. If the status says HOLDSHELF, it means the book was put on hold by a patron. If the status says BILLED & NOT PAID, it means the book has been checked out past its due date by a patron, and they have been notified that the book is overdue.

To request a book that is checked-out, you click RECALL at the top of the page, and enter the information required.  When the book is returned by the patron, you will receive an email notifying you that it is on the hold-shelf under your name.

I hope that this tutorial has clarified some questions about library searching, and that it will continue to be a guide to those not sure where to start.  Happy searching!