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Online Library Orientation: Finding Books

Finding a Book in the "Library Catalog"

  • To find a book in the library you must use what we call the "library catalog."  The catalog can be accessed on the Internet whether the library is open or not, by going to Martin's website and clicking on Library.  If you are in the library, you can also access the library catalog by using the two dedicated computers under the "On-line Catalog" flag in the center of the library.  Don't confuse the library catalog, which searches only physical items on the library shelves, with the search box in the middle of the library's home page, which searches both print and electronic items.
  • To search for books and other items, you will need to use the online library catalog to find the call number, which also appears on the spine of the item, before you can find the item on the shelves. Watch the short tutorial below to learn how to use the catalog.
  • If your instructor places an item on reserve, you may request it at the circulation desk.  Reserve items generally must be used in the library (although there are some exceptions).

Library Catalog Tutorial

Library Catalog

Finding a Book on the Library Shelves

  • After you find a book in the catalog, you will go to the shelves to get it.  You may be familiar with the Dewey Decimal System, which is used in many public libraries to organize the books into subject groupings.  Most academic libraries do not use Dewey, but a similar system called the Library of Congress System, or "LC." 
  • Click on the link below to see the general subject categories in LC and then watch the short video below to learn how to find a book on the shelf using LC. 
Library of Congress Classification System

Interlibrary Loan



  • You can also request books from other community college libraries in North Carolina using the library catalog.
  • Just use the drop-down box to change the library from "Martin" to "All" before searching.
  • After you perform your search, click on the title you want from the list of results.
  • Click Place Hold to the left, enter your library card number and click the Place Hold button at the bottom.  You can leave the other boxes blank.  (You must bring your Martin ID to the library to be scanned into our system before you place your first hold.)
  • If the book is on the shelf at the lending library, it usually arrives in about a week, and the library calls to let you know it is here. You can place holds yourself or call the library for help.