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What is the first step to find a book? And other common book questions!

By January 23, 2020September 16th, 2023No Comments

By Kate Peterson
Undergraduate Services Librarian

With the start of the new semester — Gophers thoughts turn back to courses, homework and research after the long winter break.

During a library class visit today from a WRIT 1301 class, we got some great questions about….books! We have a lot of them (8+ million) yet finding them and getting can be tricky. Here are some answers to help you kick off your semester!

What is the first step to find a book?

Go to and search on the title or author of the book. If you aren’t looking for a specific book, search on keywords. Your results are a mix of books and articles. You can click “books” in the right side filter.

What items do we need to check out a book?

Your Ucard!

Does it cost money to check out a book?


How many books can I have check out at one time?


Do you have “fun” books? Fiction? Novels? Science fiction? Fantasy? 

Yes! Yes! Yes! We have a popular reading collection in the first floor of Wilson Library and the second floor of Walter Library. We also have novels and fiction, mostly in Wilson Library, as part of the “general collection.” You can search the website to find the “call number” and go to that library to get the book. If you want a book we don’t own you can request it and we will work to get in five to seven days.

Read book suggestions from fellow Gophers: “This Is How It Always Is” or “The Circle.”

What is the return policy? How long can I keep a book?

Please return you book to any campus library (it doesn’t need to be the one you check it out from) when you are done. In general if you are working on a BIG project, you can keep a book for up to six months (more about renewing materials).

Can you pre-order books? Can I get a book moved and picked up at a closer library?

Yes, go to and search for the book. Once you find it, be sure you are logged in. You will see a link to “get it.” Select the library you want to pick to the book up at (more on book delivery) and we will move it for you. It usually takes 24-48 hours and we will send you an email when it is on the shelf. Go to that library, find the service desk and show your Ucard and check it out.

Do you have textbooks?

Maybe. We have a list of free U of M required books (In partnership with the University of Minnesota Bookstores). Also search with the title of your textbook to see if we have it in print. If you want a book we don’t own you can request it and we will work to get in five to seven days.

Tip: If we have an older edition, ask your instructor or a classmate to see what parts are different and plan accordingly.

Where can I get help finding books?

You can chat 24/7 with a librarian, stop in at a library, send us an email or make an appointment with a Peer Research Consultant (a.k.a. a peer tutor for library research).

About Kate Peterson

Kate PetersonKate is the Libraries Undergraduate Services Librarian, who is on the front lines representing the Libraries at student orientation and other key student programs. She also is the librarian for Writing Studies, First Year Writing, and the University Honors Program.

Kate teaches Think Like a Researcher workshops, CSE 1001: First Year Experience, and CLA 1002: First Year Experience, Research Spotlight.



Kate Peterson

Author Kate Peterson

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