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History: Finding Books

A Research Guide for History from West Chester University Library.

Library Catalog

Our library catalog is now integrated into the same system (Library Search) that brings back articles, but you can still search just the catalog, if you want.  The search box below is customized to do that. 

Or, you can limit to books after you've searched by looking for source types in the left hand column.

Spring 2020: Getting print books

Spring 2020:  requesting print books from our collection

If you need a book that we only own in print, we will mail it to you, but that will take a few days up to a week.  We will also send a postage paid return envelope for you to return the book.

If you find a print book you need to have mailed, please email the information about the book to illoan@wcupa.edu to request it.  It would be extremely helpful if you could provide them with the permalink to the catalog in the email.

To get a permalink:

  • click on the title of the book
  • on the page that appears, click permalink to make it appear

Need a book we don't have?

Spring 2020 update:  The EZ-Borrow system that we usually use for books is shutting down starting Friday, March 20.  If you are really desperate to get you hands on a book we don't own, please email me directly at rmcmullin@wcupa.edu to discuss options.
Can't find good books in our catalog on your topic?  Try searching a larger collection (see below).  Any books that we don't own, we can get for you from another library, for free, in just 2-3 business days through our EZ-Borrow interlibrary loan system.

EZ-Borrow Tips:

  • The number to log into EZ-Borrow is the 16 digit number on the BACK of your WCU Ram card.  See the EZ-borrow main page for what to do if you don't have a Ram card or your number isn't working.
  • I usually search in EZ-Borow by title.  You don't need to put in the entire title, just enough words to make the search distinctive enough so the book you want appears near the top.
  • You can also put in keywords and see what comes up and request things that we don't own!

Other sources for locating books

Green Library is only able to purchase a very small percentage of the great number of History books  that are published each year.  That is why it is essential when conducting research to use other sources to locate relevant books.  REMEMBER: you can almost always use interlibrary loan to request the books that you find for free and they will arrive within 3 to 4 business days.

Worlcat.org This gigantic catalog has entries from thousands of libraries in the US and abroad.  Downside is that searching in it can be messy.  The link I've provided goes to the advanced search for more precise searching.

Google Books: This is one of my personal favorites for two reasons.  First, for many books you can search (and preview) some of the text of the book.  That helps you find books that have just a chapter or a few pages on your topic.  Second, look for the Get this book bar, which usually appears to one side of the screen on both the preview and overview pages.  Below a list of booksellers you will usually see a link called Find in a library.  Click it and put WCU's zip code (19383) in the search box.  If we have it, West Chester University Library will pop up as the first result and you can click on the link to go directly to our catalog!  If we don't have it, you can also see if any other nearby libraries have a copy.

Amazon.com or other booksellers:  One caveat, booksellers usually carry a mix of popular and academic titles.  Try reading the description and seeing who the publisher is before you request a book.

Catalogs of larger university libraries: Most library catalogs can be searched by anyone (unlike databases, which are always limited to those associated with a particular school).  So go to the library catalogs of large universities .  Most catalogs work in a similar manner, so the search tips I provide in the left-hand column should apply to other catalogs as well.

West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400