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Does the Library Have Textbooks?

Posted in About the Library, Academic Communities, Academic Disciplines, Arts & Humanities, Borrowing, Business & IT, Circulation Desk, Course Reserves, Faculty, General News, Health Sciences, Interlibrary Loan, Library Research, Library Services, Reference Desk, Research Assistance, Sciences, Social Sciences, and Students

Helpful answers and tips regarding a question frequently asked at the start of each semester, brought to you by our Business Librarian, Rob Sage.

Q: Does the Library have textbooks?

A: Mostly…no.
Unfortunately, the Library does not buy current textbooks being used in classes. The Library’s mission is to support CSUF’s curriculum with books, journals, databases and other resources, not be a warehouse for textbooks. Even if the Library did stock current textbooks, it would only end up helping a few—who happen to check-out the books first—leaving thousands of others unserved.

A: But…sometimes.
There are sometimes cases when a textbook will be in the library. For example, if a copy of the textbook was donated to the library or an electronic copy is made available by one of our e-book providers.

Also, Assigned readings are different from textbooks. We do have many assigned readings (example: if you are taking a literature class and have to read Shakespeare’s Hamlet, yes, we have copies of that in the library!)

So to check if the library has a textbook, search the library’s online catalog:

  • Search by Title or Author.
  • You can also search by the ISBN # too, but don’t rely on it only…textbooks can have varying ISBN #’s.

If you find your textbook, make sure it is the same edition! An older edition may not have the same content.

Search for Reserves: If your instructor has placed a copy of a textbook on reserve in the library (normal checkout period is 3 hours), you can search for it by your instructor’s name. Searching by title or course number will not work. Go to to search for books on reserve.

Q: Can textbooks be sent from another library (Interlibrary Loan)?

A: Unfortunately…no.
Interlibrary Loan is a great service, but it is for regular library materials, not textbooks. With over 38,000 students at CSUF, the cost to ship thousands of textbooks here each semester would be unsustainable.

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