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English Composition 3: English Composition, Rhetoric, and Language

How to Read a Book

Tips for Book Searching

When searching for books in the UC Library Search catalog, here are a few strategies to start with:

  1. If you are not sure of where to start, do a Keyword search for relevant terms or phrases (put the phrases in "quotation marks")
  2. If you find a useful title, click on the Subject(s): to get a list other books on the same topic
  3. If you already have a relevant book or article in hand, use its bibliography to find other sources on the same topic
  4. If you have the title of the book you want, do a Title starts with search to find the call number
  5. Use quotation marks if you want to search a phrase
  6. Use * to truncate a word, e.g., america* will retrieve american and americans

Powell Library Floor Maps. Books with call numbers A-QA are on the first floor Book Stacks. Books with call numbers QC-Z and oversize books (with an * preceding the call number) are on the ground floor of Powell Library.

Online Catalog for Finding Books at UCLA and Other Libraries

  • Search UCLA's local library collection as well as the collections from all 10 UC libraries, two regional library facilities and the California Digital Library

  • Locate the full text of millions of print and online books, journal articles, and other content

  • Get up-to-the-minute status information on what's checked out, do things like renew your books, recall books checked out to other people or request items stored in the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF)


Select the scope most appropriate for what you are looking for:

  • Articles, books, and more searches all 10 UC campus libraries, the electronic resources subscribed to, as well as electronic resources that may not be in the UC libraries, but that can be requested through Interlibrary Loan.
  • Course Reserves searches material put on reserve by your professor. Search by course number, title or instructor.
  • UCLA Library Catalog searches just material in the UCLA Libraries, with the exception of journal articles.
  • UC Libraries Catalog searches all 10 UC campus libraries, with the exception of journal articles.
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive searches only the holdings of the Film & Television Archive.
  • WorldCat Global Catalog searches material in libraries throughout the United States and some foreign countries.

. You can request materials from anywhere in the world using the Interlibrary Loan service—you don't even have to specify where it's coming from—but it may take weeks or months to get here, and extremely rare materials may not be available for loan.


Did you know that the UCLA Library has access to thousands of e-books available for free? UCLA students, faculty, and staff can read all of these books online from your computer or mobile device. You can even download, highlight, and print many of these e-books. Click on the link below to visit our e-books guide!

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: Powell Library is called "College Library" in the catalog).

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.

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.