Using WorldCat to discover books in any library

Last week I mentioned that you can go to any SUNY, CUNY or New York state community college library to take out books. You can use their online catalog to find out what books they have and where to find them in the stacks.

WorldCat is a catalog of catalogs. It’s a database that contains the holdings
of thousands of libraries – hundreds of millions of books, microform and multi
media materials.
You can get to it by going to Once you’re in, just do a keyword search. It’s a huge database, so be as specific as you want with that search! Also be sure to specify Year, Audience, Content, Format and Language using the boxes provided.
Now you’ll see your search results. Click on the title of any one that you’re interested in to see more information about it. If you scroll down, you will see “Find a copy in the library.” Put in your zip code to let it know where you are. It will tell you what libraries have the book, and the list will be arranged so that the ones closest to you are at the top of the list. Below, you can see that my book is available from four SUNY libraries, one of which is only 45 minutes away.

Questions? Ask a Librarian


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