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Smart Student Research Guide

Step 4: Finding Items in the Library
Skip to Step 5: Search strategies and concept maps

To locate specific library materials you must use the catalog. A catalog is a database of all materials owned by a particular library. Through the libraries' catalog you can locate any item that is available either in print or online --including books, movies/documentaries, journals, newspapers, and audio. You can find the catalog search box on our home page or go directly to the catalog.

This section of the Smart Student Research Guide will show you how to search the catalog and then how to find the items in the library (we’ll also tell you some cool features about the library, too!).

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Call Numbers
All items in the catalog are assigned a unique group of letters and numbers called call numbers. Call numbers are used to classify materials and tell you their locations on the shelf. The McKillop Library (as most academic libraries) uses the Library of Congress Classification System when assigning call numbers to books and other materials in the libraries.

owl For example, for the book The Letters of Virginia Woolf by Virginia Woolf, the call number is listed in the catalog as PR6045.O72 Z525 1975 and the location is Salve Main Collection.

Below is the catalog entry for The Letters of Virginia Woolf by Virginia Woolf:


Notice the LOCATION, CALL NUMBER and STATUS columns. You want to make sure the item says “AVAILBLE” under STATUS otherwise it may be checked-out (you can still request items that are checked-out but the waiting period will depend upon the due date and when the item is returned).
owl catalog


Finding Items on the Shelves
The CALL NUMBER tells you where on the shelf the item is located. Therefore, according to the chart above, The Letters of Virginia Woolf is located in the Main Collection and is either on the 2nd FL or the 3rd FL. Next, the call number starts with PR. According to the chart above, P’s in the Main Collection are located on the 3rd FL.

So, take your call number and head up to the third floor. You’ll see many books on shelves – how will you ever find the one book that you want among all of the others? Easy!

Take a quick look at this short tutorial to find out how to find an item on the shelf. We’ve also created a hand-out that you can print and take with you: How to find books in the stacks [PDF]. If you're still not sure how to find an item on the shelf, ask a librian! We're happy to walk with you and show you how to find items.


Request Books from Other Libraries
Did you know that you can request that books from other RI academic libraries be sent to Salve for pick-up, free of charge? Sounds great, right? Read this page to find out how.


Course Reserves
Sometimes a professor may want you to read, listen to or view something (an article, a video, an audio file, etc) on course reserve. There are two types of reserves: physical and electronic.

Physical reserves are item(s) (a book, a DVD, etc) placed on reserve (e.g. “hold”) for you and your classmates to view. To borrow a reserve item, simply go to the front Circulation desk (1st FL) and tell the friendly staff that you need to borrow a reserve item. Be sure you know the name of the class (e.g. ENG 150) and the professor. We will then retrieve the item(s) and check them out to you. Physical reserves are usually in-library use only for a maximum of 3 hours but the type of reserve can vary; be sure you are aware of the lending restrictions before leaving the front desk. Please return your materials on time so that classmates can have their chance to use them. Click here to see items you have on reserve for your class (click on Professor or Course, enter the information and click Submit).

Electronic reserves are electronic files stored online for students in a particular class to use. Click here to access an electronic reserve (click on Professor or Course, enter the information and click Submit). If items have been placed on reserve for your course, you should see them listed. You can click on the name/title of any reserve that says [Electronic] to view the item.

To access course reserves (and some library content such as databases if you are off-campus), you will be asked to enter your name, library barcode number (14 digit number on your Salve ID), and, in certain cases, a password to access reserve materials. Enter your name as firstname lastname (do NOT add a DOT in between). If needed, the password will be provided by your professor. If you do not know your library barcode or are having problems accessing reserves, please call the Circulation Desk at 401-341-2291.


Library Items to Borrow or Purchase
Need headphones? A projector? Highlighter? Memory card reader? Desk fan? Presentation remote?
We've got you covered! Just ask at the Circulation desk.

earbudsSanitary, single-pack earbuds are for sale at the Circulation desk for $#36;1.00 each. Of course, you can still borrow a pair of headphones with your Salve ID.

Too hot where you are in the library? Come to the front desk and check out a desk fan. We have battery operated fans (batteries included) and USB fans (just plug into your laptop) available for 2 hour checkout.

highlighter We have new Ying Yang Double-Tip highlighters that are sure to come in handy! Our highlighters are for sale at the Circulation desk for $#36;1.00 each. These highlighters pull apart to reveal two highlighters in one –- yellow and pink -- and they feature the library logo in blue.

remoteGiving a presentation in class and don't want to be tied to your computer? Borrow one of our USB presentation remotes: just attach the wireless receiver into your computer's USB port (Mac or PC) and use the remote to click back and forth between PowerPoint slides. It even features a red laser pointer.

projectorCheck-out a small portable projector at the circulation desk. Hook it up to your laptop or portable device and project on the wall. Use in any study room!


Library Staff
The (friendly!) information desk is staffed by librarians who can answer your questions – anything from using the printers, finding articles and books, formatting documents in Word – and the front Circulation desk always has friendly staff waiting to assist you. Just ask!



pointNext, we’re jumping back into research by learning some search strategies and how to find books and articles on your chosen topic.

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