Finding Textbooks

August 26th, 2010 by Sarah Laleman Ward

Without fail, the most frequently asked question in the library at the start of the semester is “I need to find ____ textbook for my class. Can you help me?”

So, dear students, consider this a primer on locating textbooks within our system.

First, you should be aware that the library does not own copies of every textbook for every class, but it can’t hurt to look. We did get some funding last year to purchase multiple copies of the most-used textbooks for large classes, such as Chemistry and Biology.

The fastest, most efficient way to determine if we have a textbook (or any other book for that matter) is to search for the book in CUNY+, the library catalog. CUNY+ can be accessed by visiting our home page,, and clicking on the CUNY+/Books link under the “Find” menu:

Once you are in CUNY+, you have the option to search for books in various ways: by title, by author, by subject, etc. Here are two very brief, incredibly helpful videos that will take you through the steps for locating books by title and locating books by author. I promise that viewing these videos will take less time than waiting in line at the reference desk to ask a librarian. We will show you exactly the same steps that are outlined in the video.

If the book you need is not available at Hunter College, you can expand your CUNY+ search to include other CUNY schools. CUNY Libraries Inter-campus Services (CLICS) is a system that allows CUNY students to easily borrow materials from schools within CUNY. All the information you need to know about using CLICS can be found here:

Sometimes, Professors will place materials “on reserve” at the library. What that means is that there is at least one copy of a textbook (or other material such as a CD) at the Reserve Desk (on the 2nd floor of the main library, or at the Circulation Desks of the Social Work and Health Professions Libraries) that is available to be used for two hours at a time in the library. Reserve materials cannot leave the library, but you can make photocopies. This page contains up-to-date information for locating reserve materials:

Sometimes, however, you will have no choice but to get your textbooks from an outside source. Thankfully, CUNY has put together a handy guide to help you save money on textbooks:

I highly recommend the textbook rental option, particularly if you know it is a book that you are not inclined to use later in your career. I tried it last year and it worked like a charm and saved me a bundle of money.

Hopefully, this post will help you help yourself locate the textbooks you need to succeed this semester. And as always, if you have questions you can Ask A Librarian!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn

Tags: ,
Posted in Library Collections, Library Resources

Leave a Reply