Finding Library Books: A Guide for Online Students

sarah_reandoby Sarah Reando, Reference Librarian

Finding Library Books: A Guide for Online Students

At Webster University Library, we strive to make sure that online and extended campus students have access to our helpful online and print resources. You may have already encountered our databases for journal articles and reference resources, but did you know that you can also get library books, regardless of your location? There are a number of ways to do this.

Accessing eBooks on the Library Website

It is often easiest to begin by looking for eBooks. EBooks can be invaluable for online students. These books are just like those you might pick up in a library or bookstore, except that they are read on a computer screen rather than pulled from the shelf and held in your hands. Ebooks can be accessed any time of day or night, can be taken anywhere you carry your device, and can often be searched for specific topics.

You can search for eBooks in the library catalog, selecting the eBook option from the “Are you looking for…?” menu. Then you will use the appropriate keywords to search for books related to your research topic. When you select a book that looks interesting to you, you will log in with your name and 7-digit Webster ID (as you would for a database).


To find out more about special features of our eBooks, tips and tricks, and how to find eBooks freely available on the open web, visit our eBooks Reference Guide.

 Requesting Print Books from Webster University Library

In the event that the book you need is not available through the library as an eBook, or if you prefer to read print books rather than eBooks, you can request print books from the library. When you request a book through our catalog, it will typically arrive within 3 or 4 business days (though we cannot guarantee a delivery date). The books will come directly to your door, and when you’re ready to return them, you simply put the provided label on the box and leave it in your mailbox.

booksSome things to keep in mind when requesting print books:

  1. Start your research early. You’ll need to account for the time the book will take to reach you, and the time you’ll need to read it and apply it to your research.
  2. Make sure that your address is updated in Webster University’s enrollment system. You can check this in your biographical information in Connections, and contact the Registrar for changes in address.
  3. The books are shipped via UPS, which does not deliver or pick up from post office boxes.

To find out more about this service, visit our web page on the subject, or Ask a Librarian.

Finding a Copy near You Using a Worldwide Library Catalog

If you cannot wait for a print book to be mailed to you, there is another option for accessing the books that you need. Worldcat, a worldwide library catalog, can tell you the closest library to your location that has the book you are looking for.

Keep in mind that in order to check a book out, you will need to have lending privileges at that library, and requirements for getting a library card vary from library to library. Even if you it isn’t convenient to get a library card, check the library’s policy on guest patrons. Many public and university libraries will allow guests to use a book as long as it doesn’t physically leave the library.

To find out more about Worldcat, visit our FAQ entry or Ask a Librarian.


Sarah Reando is a Reference Librarian at the Emerson Library of Webster University.