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Library Introduction for First-Generation Students

This guide will introduce you to all of the services available to you at WSU Libraries!

How to Checkout Books

WSU Libraries operates on an "Open Stack" system. That means that you must find the "Call Number" of the book, find it on the shelf, and take it to the circulation desk to check it out. We can help you with this!

You may checkout (take home) up to 299 books at one time. For undergraduates, each book may be kept for SIX WEEKS. Graduate students may keep each book for a semester. If you need the book longer, you must renew it.

To checkout a book:

  1. Make sure that you have Cougar Card that is current and in good standing.
  2. Use our catalog (Search It) at If you need help with this, please visit the Reference Desk on the 1st floor of Terrell Library. We are happy to help you find a book and locate it on the shelf!
  3. When you find a book, write down the call number (explained above). Use the stack chart to locate the book (or ask at the Reference Desk).
  4. Bring the book(s) to the Circulation Desk and show your Cougar Card.
  5. Remember to return your book by the due date! If you bring a book back late, you may have to pay fines. Learn more about library fines.

Course Textbook Reserves

Sometimes instructors place courses textbooks on hold at the library, so that you can use them for free for short periods of time without having to buy them. So before you spend money on textbooks, please check with your instructor or the libraries FIRST!

Find out if we have books available for your course.

Ordering Books from Other Libraries

Can't find the book at WSU Libraries? No problem! We can order most books for you from other libraries - for free! There are certain restrictions on ordering textbooks so be sure to ask first. 

WSU Libraries belong to a group of libraries around the Pacific Northwest that share materials. Through this system (called "Summit"), you can order any book in the system to be delivered to you at WSU for free. If the book is not available through Summit, you can order it through another system called Interlibrary Loan.

When a book is not available, you will see a YELLOW DOT and the phrase Check Holdings:

Search It record with "Check holdings" link outlined

 Check Holdings can mean one of several things:

  • The book is checked out
  • The book is missing or lost
  • The book is not located at a WSU library

You may be able to order the book through Summit (for delivery in 3-5 days), or Interlibrary Loan (for delivery in 1-2 weeks). You can see your request options by clicking on either the title or "Availability and Request Options." If Summit is your option, click on the Summit link and log in with your WSU ID (firstname.lastname). Fill out the requested information and you will receive an email when the book arrives. If Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is your option, click on the Interlibrary Loan link and login with your WSU ID to create an ILLiad account.

Search It record with "Request Options: Request Summit Item" link outlined

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us