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English Composition 2: Approaches to University Writing

Find Books

As a UCLA student, you have so many resources available to you that there are three catalogs to keep track of them all! Don't worry, though—finding what you need is simple once you learn the system.

The catalog you'll probably use most often is the UCLA Library Catalog. This catalog will point you to books, movies, journals, and other resources at the UCLA Library.

Melvyl is a catalog shared by the entire University of California library system. This means that if you search for something in Melvyl, you'll not only see where it's at in the UCLA Library, but at Berkeley, Irvine, and all the other campuses. If UCLA doesn't have something you need, you can have it sent from another campus by clicking the orange "request" button. Melvyl also searches articles, but we recommend you use an article database unless you know the exact title and author of an article.

Melvyl is the UC's portal into WorldCat, which is a gigantic catalog shared by thousands of libraries across the globe. When you search WorldCat, you can see all the public and university libraries that have an item.

Tips for Book Searching

When searching for books in the UCLA Library Catalog, here are a few strategies:

  • Do a Keyword search using terms or phrases (put whole phrases in "quotation marks").
  • If you have the title of a book you want, do a Title search.
  • If you find a useful book, click on the Subject(s) to get a list of subject headings that will lead to other books on the same topic.
  • Use a question mark to find all words that share a root. Searching for american? will retrieve american and americans.
  • If you already have a book or article on your topic, use its bibliography to find others on the same topic.

How Do I Find a Library Book on the Shelf?

Once you've found a book you want, write down the call number and make a note of which library it is in. Check the map to see where it is on the shelf. (Note: College Library is now Powell Library).

If your book is checked out

If your book is checked out, you can recall it and the library will hold it for you when it is returned. The person who has the book checked out will receive an email telling them that someone else needs the book and the new due date will be 7 days from when the recall request was made.

If your book is in the SRLF

If the book you want is located in the SRLF (the Library's storage facility) you have two choices to retrieve it:

  1. Visit in person between 1 – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.
  2. Using the "request" button in the library catalog, request it to be delivered to a campus library convenient for you. Requests usually take one day to fulfill and you will receive an email when the item is in.

For more details on finding, retrieving, and using items from SRLF, visit the SRLF webpage.