Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2017     Views: 25

You can use WorldCat (The World's Largest Library Catalog) to find a library near you with the book you want. WorldCat is an online catalog that contains the holdings of libraries from all over the world.  

Here are the steps to do this:

  1. From the library home page, click on the A-Z Database List link from the Quick Links section on the left.
  2. Click on the letter W from the alphabet list and then click on WorldCat from the list.
  3. In the search box type in the title of the book you want and then click the magnifying glass button to start your search.  For a smaller list of results, be sure to put the title in quotes.  For example, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
  4. If the book you want has only one word for the title or it’s a common title, you may want to use the Advanced Search and specify the title and author. Keyword is the default, but you can change this to author by using the dropdown menu.
  5. Use the filters on the left side of the results to narrow down the list to a certain format or language. 
  6. Look through the results and then click on the link to the title you want. You can see the full details for the book by clicking on the “Description” or “Edition & Formats” sections. You can expand these sections by clicking on the words.  To minimize these sections, just click on the words again. This is a great way to confirm that this is the exact version you want.
  7. Just below the Editions & Formats section you will see the Availability/Holdings section.  Look for the search box that says “Search location.”
  8. Type in your zip code and click the magnifying glass to begin your search.
  9. You should see a list of libraries in your area that own a copy of that title.
  10. If you don’t see any libraries close by that have the title you selected, try one of the other records listed.  HINT:  Click on Editions & Formats and look for the “Held by:” field. Unless you need a specific edition or version of the book, you probably want to go with the record that has the most libraries worldwide that own the book.

The following screenshot shows the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and its availability near Dayton, Ohio.

Screenshot of World Cat record of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

If you still are not able to find a library close by to you that has a copy of the book you want after following these steps, please contact the Reference Desk at ask@snhu.libanswers.com or at 844.684.0456 (toll free) and we can offer additional suggestions.

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