Getting Started in the Library

On Campus Student

Here are some helpful links and some information to get you started in the library. Whether you need help with research, a comfy place to study, or access to your library reserves, the University Library is the place for you!

Get help from a librarian

Need help interpreting your assignment requirements? Not sure where to go to find resources on your research topic? Been searching for 15 minutes and haven’t gotten anywhere yet? It’s time to get help from a librarian! You can get help from a librarian in the following ways:

  • Chat - best for relatively quick questions that you need answered quickly
  • Email - for more complex questions, or when you don’t need an answer ASAP
  • In-person at the Research Help Desk - when you need to meet with a librarian face-to-face or to find something inside the library building
  • Phone - when you can’t come to campus and need to talk out your question with a librarian
  • By appointment - when your question is complex and you need more than 5 minutes with a librarian who is an expert in your subject

Library Reserves

Sometimes your professor will put materials for your courses either online at the library or behind the check out desk at the library. Check the library reserves system to see if we have what you need. If we don’t have it, you can ask your professor if they can put a copy on reserve or you can check the University Bookstore.

Find a book

  • Go to the library’s homepage
  • Click on the tab for “Books & More”, type in your key word, and click “Search”
    • If you know the specific book you’re looking for, you can search by Author or Title (select these options in the drop down menu)
    • If you need to find a book on a certain topic, search by Keyword or Subject
    • On the next screen, select “Books” from the “Materials Type” drop down menu
  • If you need a book right away:
    • Access electronic books from anywhere with an internet connection and your CSUSM log in.
    • Find physical books can be on the 3rd-5th floors of the library by call number.
  • If you can wait a little bit (up to a week), use CSU+ to request books from another CSU library:
    • On the results page, select “Search Within: California State University collections” from the drop down menu
    • Click “Search”
    • The results list will show items that are at CSUSM and also at other CSU libraries
    • For items at other libraries, sign in with your CSUSM account to request the items you are interested in.
    • After you request your items, you will receive an email when they are ready to be picked up at the CSUSM library check out desk (3-5 business days).

Need help? Stop by the Research Help Desk or chat with a librarian.

Find a scholarly article

If your professor is requiring “scholarly”, “academic”, “peer-reviewed”, “scientific”, or “research” articles, you will need to use an article database.

  • Select an article database by subject or search alphabetically if your professor has recommended a particular database.
  • Each database is a little bit different, but there will generally be an option that allows you to narrow down your search so you are retrieving mostly scholarly/academic articles.
  • Search our Research or Course guides for help specific to your subject/course.

Not sure if the article you found is scholarly? Watch the What is a Scholarly Article? Video from the Kimbel Library.

Still not sure? Ask a CSUSM Librarian!