Library Super Services: How to find books quickly and easily at TC

| February 28, 2011

This mini series of posts about “super” library services is to highlight some of the interesting, hidden, under-utilized, etc. services of the Gottesman library at TC. There are many unique services and resources here at TC –this list is by no means exhaustive. I’m choosing some of my favorites but if anyone would like to see something specific highlighted, please let me know.

Did you know there are 4 great ways to find books using Gottemsan and the CU libraries?


Remember card catalogs? Big drawers that held countless cards that explained the library’s holding by subject, author or title? Well, in 2011 we no longer have card catalogs. Instead we have OPACS or online public access catalogs (like Educat) that make it possible to search for materials by different criteria such as title, author, and subject. Searching Educat is pretty straightforward. Access it from the library’s homepage, enter the information you have (or seek) and follow the paths.

Though searching Educat is pretty self-explanatory, there are some features I’d like to point out.

Once you find that we have the book in our collection, you’ll need to find the book in the stacks and (as you may well know) that can sometimes be a challenge. Click on the Collections Directory link to get a map of the stacks. Once you have your call number, it will be simple to find the floor, range, section and shelf your book calls home.

Educat makes is easy to search for government documents, and materials in your course reserves.  The course reserves link will prompt you to log in to your TC web account. Books and articles your professors have selected will be visible to you through your class folders. The link to the library helps make makes accessing articles and books simple and fast. (Though you will still need to use the collections directory to actually find the book at the library.)

Educat also makes to easy to monitor your library account. By logging into “My Record” you can monitor your account and do things like see the books you have checked out, renew them online and pay your fines. Educat also enables you to save your searches. You can save your searches (by clicking the save button at the top of your search results) and visit them again. You can also sign up to be emailed when new books that fall within the parameters of your search are added to Gottesman. Cool huh?

Now that you’ve mastered Educat, it’s good to know that even if you can’t find a resource through Educat, you’re not done searching. At least you shouldn’t be.


If TC doesn’t have the book you seek, look for it in CLIO- the card catalog for Columbia at large. You can access CLIO from the library’s home page- below find the interface. The big message here is that Columbia is an incredibly well-resourced institution; the buck should not stop at TC if we don’t have what you’re looking for.

Inter Library Loan (ILL)

These services are yours to invoke if you can’t find a resource you seek at Columbia.Email us from the library’s home page if you’re pretty sure CU Libraries doesn’t have a book you need. We will find it, request it and email you once we have it. You can pick up ILL books at the front desk of Gottesman.

4. Borrow Direct

A great option if you can’t find the book at TC or CU but see a record for it in CLIO.

“Borrow Direct enables Columbia University students, faculty, and staff with library borrowing privileges to borrow books directly from the libraries of Brown University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University. The turnaround time for a Borrow Direct transaction is very short, usually 3-4 working days. Please note that books obtained through Borrow Direct must be picked up at and returned to Butler Library.” or call 212-854-7535

Happy searching!

I’m thinking about you. Drop me a line when you get a chance.