At the beginning of each semester, we frequently get asked, “Does the Library have this textbook?” Generally speaking, the Library does not purchase textbooks as part of its collection development — in part, because textbooks are updated so often that having the most recent edition used in each course would be cost-prohibitive. There are enough exceptions to this generalization, however, to make it worth your while to check the Library’s catalog using the Library Hacks below and to ask a Librarian for help.
- The Library may have the most current edition of a textbook
- The Library may have an older edition of the textbook (in this case, double-check with your Professor to determine whether the older version is acceptable)
- Your Professor may have asked the Library to place a copy of the textbook/required reading on Reserve (i.e., available for limited period, in-library use only) so the entire class has access to it; this book may be either the Library’s own copy or the Professor’s personal copy. For example, 2 copies of Constitutional law: Cases, comments, questions is on Reserve behind the Circulation Desk at Payson Library for President Benton’s Jurisprudence course)
- Check the Reserves page to see if your Professor has placed your textbook/required readings on Reserve
- Textbooks often do not have unique titles (a psychology text may be called “Psychology” and a human anatomy book entitled “Human Anatomy”); use the Library Catalog’s advanced search feature to search by book title and author (example)
- Search for a textbook using its ISBN (this is the unique number assigned to a book). You can usually find the ISBN on reverse of the title page in a book. Alternatively, search Amazon for the textbook and then scroll down to the “Product Details” information to locate the ISBN. Note that Pepperdine Libraries may have the book with a different ISBN, so see the “Use the ‘View all editions and formats’” hack below.
- Try using these Smartphone apps (Android BookMinder; iPhone Book Bazaar or RedLaser) in the Bookstore to check to see if the Library has a book. The apps work by allowing you to scan the book’s barcode and search for availability in nearby libraries.
- Use the “View all editions and formats” link in the Library Catalog to see if the Library owns another edition(s) of the book (help and example)