Skip to main content

Tutorials: Finding Books

Learn how to use library resources, do research and more!

Finding Books in Foley Library

Foley Library has lots of books, both popular and academic. The two best resources to find books are Primo (for books Foley owns) and WorldCat (for books we don't). You can find basic information in the box in the right column and detailed information/screenshots in the Primo and WorldCat boxes in the left column.

Using Primo to Find Books - Detailed Instructions

Primo is the library's general search page, and it's our best resource for finding books. To find books in Primo, you can either do a basic search in the search box on the main page or click on the "Primo Homepage" tile:

This image highlights the Primo search box and tile.

You can just type in the title or topic you want to search for to get started with a basic search. If you want to limit your search to books, you can click on the Foley Library option on the left side, under Collections. This will limit your search to items in the Foley catalog (books, e-books, and multimedia items). In the image below, the Location area is also highlighted. This is another option you can use if, for example, you know the book would be in the Foley General Collection.

This image shows where the "Collection" and "Location" limiters are in Primo.

Then you just check if we have the book/topic you're looking for! If you find a book you want, information about its location and availability will be listed as part of the record:

This image shows where the location of a book is listed in Primo.

If it's a print book that we have in the library, the record will tell you if it's available (or checked out), what section of the library it's in (ex. the General Collection), and what the call number is. Keep in mind that our catalog lists some books in Chastek (the law library) and the Gonzaga-in-Florence library. If you need help finding a book, ask at the reference desk or check out the "Finding Call Numbers" box below. If you're a distance student, see the "Requesting a Book" tab.

Give it a try and see if we have your favorite book!

As we talked about in the "Basic Search," Primo has options along the left-hand side that will help you refine your search. Some of the most useful are Collection (ex. limit to Foley Library), Resource Type (ex. limit to Audio Visual materials), and Publication Date (determine what dates you want to include in your search). If you scroll down, you can also see an option to limit by Language.

This image shows the location of the limiters on the left side of the Primo search page.

Also, if you want to do more complex searching (ex. searching by author), you can go to the Advanced Search screen; the link is located right next to the main Search button.

This image shows the location of the "Advanced Search" option from the Primo main page.

This will pull up the main search page, and you can use the drop-down menus to change which field you're searching in (ex. searching by author/creator), refine the publication year, select the language, etc. The search below shows a search for books written by Thoreau, published in the last twenty years (so these would be published posthumously), and written in English.

This image shows an Advanced Search in Primo.

Searching in Primo is pretty simple, but keep in mind that Primo draws some of its descriptors from multiple databases, so some types of searches (like subject heading searching) is not very effective. If you have any questions or problems, just let us know!

If you decide you want a book that we have on the shelves, you can request it by placing a hold. You'll get an e-mail when the book is available; then, you'll either pick the book up at the Circulation Desk in Foley Library (if you are an on-campus student) or it will be mailed to you (if you are a distance student).

There are several ways to place a request from Primo--if you are looking at the Locations tab, you can click on Sign in to request:

This image shows the "Locations" tab and the "Sign in to Request" button in Primo.

You'll need to sign in with your ID number and your last name--note that this is a different log-in than you usually use. Then you'll have the option to place a Hold.

This image shows where to click to place a hold in Primo.

You'll be asked where you want to pick up the book (typically Foley Circulation) and then you can just click on the Hold button. You'll be notified when your book is ready!

Typically, you'd only be placing holds if the book is not currently available or if you are a distance student--but let us know if you have any questions.


Using WorldCat to Find Books

WorldCat is a joint book catalog--which means you can use it to search for any book and see which libraries own it. This option is useful if you need to find a book we don't own and request it or if you want to know which libraries in a particular area have a book.

To get to WorldCat from our homepage, click on the WorldCat icon:

This image shows the location of the WorldCat link on the main homepage.

Once you get to the main search page, you can type in what you're searching for to do a basic search. If you know what you're looking for, you probably want to use the drop-down menu to choose a specific field (probably Title or Author).

This image shows the WorldCat search page, as well as the arrow to select a field.

You can also see some other search options, such as limiting to books, limiting to items at Gonzaga, and limiting by year.

Give it a try and see what you find!

Once you've done a search, you'll need to be able to read the results and limit your search. The main thing to know about WorldCat is that it tells you how many libraries own the item, whether Gonzaga is one of those, and whether you can get it from a library in the Spokane area (see highlighted area in the #2 record below):

This image shows some example WorldCat search results.

The Books tab at the top is also highlighted in the image above, because you may want to limit your results to books. WorldCat lists a lot of Internet/e-book resources, which you may want to see, but we cannot borrow internet resources.

If you want to see a complete list of libraries that own an item, click on Libraries Worldwide (highlighted in the image above). You'll then see a list of libraries in the state.

This image shows a list of libraries in WorldCat.

If you are a distance student and want to see the libraries from another state, click on Display All Libraries (highlighted above) to see a complete list, alphabetical by state.

Give it a try and see what libraries in the country own your favorite book!

How do you get books you find in WorldCat? If they aren't books we have at Gonzaga, you can request them through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). With this service, we'll borrow the item from another library and get the book to you.

NOTE: If you need to set up an ILL account, see the Full-Text and Interlibrary Loan tab for complete instructions.

To request a book from WorldCat, click on the title of the item to open the full record.

This image shows the location of the "Send Request by ILLiad" link.

Then click on the Send Request by ILLiad link. You will be asked to sign in to ILLiad, then you can submit the request as a normal ILL request.

Books have to be sent through the mail, so they typically take more time. If you have any questions or problems, let us know.


Basic Information About Books

How to find books at Foley Library:

Use Primo (the red search box on the main page or the Primo tile) to find books. You can search either by the title or by the topic you're looking for. If you find a book you want, you'll be able to figure out where it is under the "Locations" tab in Primo; some books are electronic. Detailed instructions/screenshots are in the Primo box to the left.

How to find books at other libraries:

So what if Foley doesn't have a book you need? You can use WorldCat (see the tile on the library's homepage) to search for books at owned by other libraries. WorldCat has options to let you see which libraries own the book and options to request the book. Requesting a book means we ask another library to mail it to us, so it does take some time (about 2 weeks). Detailed instructions are in the WorldCat box in the left column.

What does PS3048.A2 C73 2004 mean?

This is a "call number," and it tells you where the book is on the shelf. Some people aren't familiar with our numbering system, but the easiest way to understand it is that it's small chunks of information, organized how you would think (numeric and alphabetical order). So you'd start by finding the Ps, then the PSs (within the Ps), then you'd look for the 3000s within the PSs. It's pretty simple once you start breaking it down. Make sure you check what collection it's in, too--for example, some of Gonzaga's books are in Italy (for the Gonzaga in Florence program), so you aren't going to find those in Foley. It should say right after the call number, and signs are posted around the building to direct you to different collections.

How to request a book:

Primo and WorldCat both have ways to request books. In Primo, "Sign In to Request" is one of the options under "Locations." Your book will be held at the circulation desk for seven days when it's available. In WorldCat, when you open a record, one of the options is "Send Request Through ILLiad." This will walk you through submitting a request for us to borrow the book from another library, and we'll let you know when it's ready. Note that we don't control the check-out time for books from other libraries, and they take longer because they have be sent through the mail.

Why and when you might want to request a book:

Local students: place a hold on an available book to reserve it. Pick it up at the Circulation Desk within 7 days.

Distance students (35+ miles from campus): Place a hold on a book and it will be checked out to you and mailed to your home address.

Everyone: If a book is unavailable, place a hold to reserve the book for you when it is returned.

What to do if an ILL books arrives after the due date:

This does happen on occasion. Contact us immediately if it happens to you!! We will renew the book and do our best to get you more time from the lending library.  Phone numbers: (509) 313-3824 / (800) 498-5941 or e-mail