Library Hack – Textbooks in the Library


At the beginning of each semester, we frequently get asked, “Does the Library have this textbook?”  Generally speaking, the Library does not purchase textbooks as part of its collection development — in part, because textbooks are updated so often that having the most recent edition used in each course would be cost-prohibitive.  There are enough exceptions to this generalization, however, to make it worth your while to check the Library’s catalog using the Library Hacks below and to ask a Librarian for help.

  • The Library may have the most current edition of a textbook
  • The Library may have an older edition of the textbook  (in this case, double-check with your Professor to determine whether the older version is acceptable)
  • Your Professor may have asked the Library to place a copy of the textbook/required reading on Reserve (i.e., available for limited period, in-library use only) so the entire class has access to it; this book may be either the Library’s own copy or the Professor’s personal copy.  For example, 2 copies of  Constitutional law: Cases, comments, questions is on Reserve behind the Circulation Desk at Payson Library for President Benton’s Jurisprudence course)

Library Hacks:

  • Check the Reserves page to see if your Professor has placed your textbook/required readings on Reserve
  • Textbooks often do not have unique titles (a psychology text may be called “Psychology” and a human anatomy book entitled “Human Anatomy”); use the Library Catalog’s advanced search feature to search by book title and author (example)
  • Search for a textbook using its ISBN (this is the unique number assigned to a book).  You can usually find the ISBN on reverse of the title page in a book.  Alternatively, search Amazon for the textbook and then scroll down to the “Product Details” information to locate the ISBN.  Note that Pepperdine Libraries may have the book with a different ISBN, so see the “Use the ‘View all editions and formats'” hack below.
  • Try using these Smartphone apps (Android BookMinder; iPhone Book Bazaar or RedLaser) in the Bookstore to check to see if the Library has a book.  The apps work by allowing you to scan the book’s barcode and search for availability in nearby libraries.
  • Use the “View all editions and formats” link in the Library Catalog to see if the Library owns another edition(s) of the book (help and example)
Library Hack – Textbooks in the Library
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