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Library Orientation: 3. Getting Books

Things to Know

As a CSM Student, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Getting & returning library materials

  • Library materials can generally be picked up, returned, and sent to any campus library.  There are campus libraries at La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick. Transfer between libraries can take one to three days, so plan accordingly.
  • The library card catalog OPAC can be accessed from the internet. You can search for books and other materials that are at the CSM libraries
  • The loan period for materials from CSM Libraries' general collection is 4 weeks for students.  Other collections loan periods vary from library use only to end of the semester.  Please check to see when materials you borrow are due and return them or renew them by that date.  All materials must be returned at the end of the semester.
  • Library policies regarding overdue books and lost/damaged book replacement charges apply to all students. Students will be placed on restriction for overdue materials.
  • It's easy to avoid overdue charges by renewing library materials as the due date approaches. You can renew materials online, in person and over the phone 301-934-7626 up to the end of the semester as long as no one else needs the materials.
  • Overdue notices are sent by email or USPS.  Please respond to notices by either renewing or returning your overdue materials.  If you lose materials contact the library as soon as possible.​​

eBooks

Besides our physical books, we have a sizable collection of eBooks -- full-length books readable right now, online. On campus? The quickest way is to use Summon.

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Books from Other Libraries

If CSM doesn't have a book, we can probably still get it for you from another library. Here's how it works.

When to use Interlibrary Loan (ILL):

  • CSM libraries doesn't have a book you need for your research
  • CSM Libraries can't supply an article you need and you have already checked for the journal/issue/date in E-Journal Portal

ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME! Ordering books from other libraries is not an option for "last minute" research.  Books are mailed to us from the lending library and that takes time.

BE VERY SELECTIVE - Please limit your requests for Interlibrary Loans and order only what you can truly use in your research. We want to keep the Interlibrary Loan service free to all students, but the reality is ILL is very expensive for the library, so please use it judiciously. 

SPECIAL "ILL" RELATED POLICIES - Because loan periods may be short and overdue charges are so high, interlibrary loan cannot be used as a substitute for purchasing textbooks. Books we get for you through interlibrary loan (ILL) are subject to the policies of the lending institution.  In other words, libraries that are kind enough to loan us their books get to call the shots!  While most ILL books come with a 4-week loan period, in some cases the loan periods may be as short as a week and renewals are always at the discretion of the lending library.   Please give "ILL books" your immediate attention when they arrive so you will be prepared to return them on time.  Overdue charges and lost/damaged fees do apply.

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Books at CSM libraries

Search for print books, audiobooks, videos, and music

Find:
Search Titles Search Authors Search Subjects Search Keywords Search Series
Advanced Search

Tips and Tricks 

Use   to search for books about your research topic or additional books by the author

Use  to add books to your resource list - save citations and call numbers. Your resource list can be printed or copy/paste into a Word document.    

The additional info  section provides detailed book information - chapter headings, references, and indexes

Use a book's reference list to find other relevant sources and the book's index to find specific pages about your research topic.    

The CSM library uses Call Numbers to organize books on the shelves. 

Call Numbers are a book's shelf address. The combination of letters and numbers tells you where to find it in the library.

When you look up a book on the CSM library web site, you'll find the Call Number on the book info page. Write down this number and match it up with label on the book on the shelf.

While most library materials can be checked out some loan restrictions apply to library collections like REF (Reference) or P.C. ???? (Reserve). When in doubt see library staff for assistance.  

If you need help finding a book, ask a librarian!

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Get Your Hands Dirty!

  1. Find a book at CSM libraries using the Library Catalog 
  2. Find a book in WorldCat and Fill out the ILL form - Request a book. (Don't worry: the final request takes another step to send - i.e. clicking the Submit button.) 
  3. Locate a full-text ebook using this database - eBook Academic collection (Ebsco).

Quiz Yourself!