University Library at St. Cloud State University

1. What is LibSearch?

LibSearch provides a single search box that allows users to search for books, audio-visual materials, journal articles, and other resources contained in many of the Library's databases. Results are returned in a single, relevancy ranked list of resources that can be refined. See section below titled  “Using LibSearch”  for more information on conducting a successful search.

LibSearch is St. Cloud State University's implementation of the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS).

2. Can I ask the library to buy an item?

Requested materials should support instructional, informational, and research objectives of St. Cloud State University, according to the LRS Collection Management Policy. Due to the nature of non-print and electronic resources, requestors should also consider the availability of appropriate equipment, cost, and accessibility.

Complete a Purchase Request Form to submit a request to the Collection Development department.

3. Can I still find and search a specific database or find a specific journal?

Individual databases continue to be accessible using the Library's Databases A-Z list or by using the Library's Research Guides. Links to electronic journals and print journal holding information can be found using the Journal Titles.

4. Does LibSearch replace Academic Search Premier or any other existing library database?

LibSearch is considered an enhancement, not a replacement, for the Library’s previous search options. It searches many databases simultaneously through a single search and returns results in a single results list. However, it does not search all databases available from the Library. It is a great place to start a research project, but other library databases and resources are still available and important to properly conduct research, particular for upper division courses.

5. How can I find out if the library owns a specific magazine, journal, or newspaper?

Use the Journal Titles link on the library homepage. Enter the title of the journal, magazine or newspaper to find out if the library has an online, print, or microfilm/microfiche subscription to that title. Ask A Librarian if you have questions.

Current print journals and magazines and newspapers are located on the first floor of the library and are shelved in alphabetical order by title. Most titles will have the current and previous year on the shelves.

6. How can I tell if an article is in a bound volume or on microfilm?

In the Books and More Catalog, click on the title to see the Holdings tab. Bound periodicals are listed as “St. Cloud State University MC Periodicals - Bound.” Microfiche holdings are listed as “St. Cloud State University MC Periodicals - Microfiche (In-Library Use Only).

In LibSearch, the Find It option will note whether the library has holdings for the item. If the article is available in the library, the record will include a link to the catalog under “Holding Information.” Click the link to see if the volume is available.

7. How do I access and search video content online?

The Library has access to over 13,000 streaming videos from the Films on Demand platform. You can access the database directly from the Films on Demand link in the Library’s Databases A-Z.

8. How do I access LibSearch?

LibSearch can be accessed directly from the search box on the Library homepage. You can also link to LibSearch from the Library’s Databases A-Z list or from many of the Library's Research Guides

Use of LibSearch is open to everyone. Results will have full lists of results, however only students, faculty, and staff of St. Cloud State University may access full-text content provided within LibSearch or linked to through FindIt!

When students, faculty, and staff of St. Cloud State University are using LibSearch from off-campus, they will be prompted to login using their StarID to view full text of articles and eBooks.

9. How do I borrow equipment?

The Library Circulation desk maintains a small pool of multimedia equipment for use by current faculty, staff, and students of St. Cloud State University. Most items have a three-day general checkout. Faculty and staff may check out equipment for a maximum of two weeks. All renewals and checkouts are subject to availability.

10. How do I check out DVDs, videos, movies, CDs, and other audio-visual materials?

Most DVDs, videos, CDs, etc. are kept behind the Circulation desk on the first floor. Feature films from the DVD collection (call numbers PN 1992.77 - PN 1992.8 and PN 1997.A2  - PN 1997.85) are located on the cherry wood shelves near the Reference Desk on the first floor. 

To check out a feature film DVD, bring the case to the Circulation Desk. For all other audio-visual materials, find the item on the Books and More Catalog, write down the call number, and take it to the Circulation desk.  The Circulation staff will retrieve the item, and check it out to you.

Students, faculty, and staff can borrow these items for three days. Students can have no more than five VHS tapes or five DVDs check out at one time.

11. How do I find a government document?

St. Cloud State University is a partial depository for U.S. government documents as well as State of Minnesota documents. This collection is located in the basement of the library.

To search, use the Books and More Catalog Advanced Search option:

Using the Collection option near the bottom of the Advanced Search screen, limit your results to Minnesota Docs or US Govt Doc:

Also try our subject guide Government Publications.

12. How do I find a thesis in the library?

The Thesis Collection is located in the Basement. The collection includes Starred Papers. You can search for specific thesis by using the Books and More Catalog and limiting your results by Collection facet in the right-hand column and limiting to Thesis-Basement.

13. How do I find a thesis online?

To locate a thesis or dissertation online, use the WorldCat database. Type in your search, include the term “dissertation” or “thesis” and limit the type to Internet Resources as shown below:

In LibSearch, include the term thesis or dissertation in your search. You can limit your results by using the Resource Types facet in the left-hand column.

14. How do I find books in the library?

Books are organized by Library of Congress Classification call numbers. You can find the call number for a book by using the library catalog or LibSearch which can be accessed directly from the search box on the Library homepage.

In the library, resources are located as follows:

First Floor
  • Reference collection (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.)
  • Atlases
  • New Fiction
  • Current periodicals and newspapers
Second Floor
  • Books A-D
Third Floor
  • Books M-N
  • Juvenile and children's book collection
  • Books E-L and O-Z
  • Bound periodicals
  • Indexes
  • Microfilm & microfiche
  • Minnesota documents
  • Thesis collection
  • U.S. Goverment documents 

15. How do I find course or electronic reserves?

Faculty often put course materials on reserve in the library. We have traditional print reserves that you check out from the Circulation desk, or electronic reserves that you have access to online with your StarID and password 24/7.

Click on Course/Electronic Reserves for more information.

16. How do I find current magazines, newspapers, or journals?

Current periodicals and newspapers are located on the first floor of the library and are shelved in alphabetical order by title. Most titles will have the current and previous year on the shelves.

17. How do I find DVDs, videos, movies, CDs, and other audio-visual materials?

Feature films from the DVD collection (call numbers PN 1992.77 - PN 1992.8 and PN 1997.A2  - PN 1997.85) are located on the cherry wood shelves near the Reference Desk on the first floor. 

The Library also has access to over 13,000 streaming videos from the Films on Demand platform. You can access the database directly from the Films on Demand link in the Library’s Databases A-Z

In a Books and More Catalog search, limit your results by Collection or Format to find videos, compact discs, and other audio-visual materials. You may also add these terms to your search terms.

To search for VHS and DVD, go to the Library homepage and click the Films and Movies link. You can narrow your search by Collection Type or Format:

In LibSearch results you may choose "Limit to Library Collection":

then limit Resource Types in the left sidebar to the collection of your choice, such as Videos or Audio.

18. How do I find films with classroom or public performance viewing rights?

To find videos with SCSU public performance rights, search the term “public performance rights” in the library catalog.

To find videos with SCSU classroom viewing rights, search the term “classroom viewing rights” in the library catalog.

The Notes field in the item’s catalog record will indicate public performance and classroom viewing rights for SCSU holdings.

19. How do I find novels or popular fiction for recreational reading?

The library does not have a fiction section that's easy to browse because the books are classified as literature. Instead use the Books and More Catalog to look up your favorite authors or titles.

Alternatively, you can check out the New Fiction shelving near the Circulation Desk and the Free Book Exchange near the Reference Desk, both on the first floor of the library.

20. How do I find the current magazines, newspapers, or journals?

Current periodicals and newspapers are located on the first floor of the library and are shelved in alphabetical order by title. Most titles will have the current and previous year on the shelves.

21. How do I log into my library account?

From the Books and More Catalog link on the Library homepage, click on the "My Account" link from the upper right corner.

Type in your library barcode (usually the 14-digit number from your Campus ID card) and your password (usually your last name).

By logging into My Account, you can view your Favorites, Tagged Items, and view your Checked Out materials. You can also view any fines you may have accrued, and you can manage your Interlibrary Loan requests.

22. How do I read Library of Congress call numbers?

See the Library of Congress Classification Outline and this guide from the University System of Georgia for LC basics.

23. How do I request that a book be removed or added to the library collection?

Contact the Collection Management department by submitting a request online or by email at

24. How do I use LibSearch?

There are three key steps in conducting a successful search:

1. Enter your search terms (this is also known as a "search query")
  • From the Library’s homepage, enter appropriate keyword search terms or phrases in the LibSearch box and press Enter.
  • If you link to LibSearch from the Library’s Database A-Z list or from a research guide, you will start from the Advanced Search. Enter appropriate search terms or phrases.  You may also select a search field to search to increase precision (reduces number of results); then, press Enter.
  • Tip: If you want to search for a phrase, enclose your words in "quotation marks" – for example, “online privacy”.
  • Tip: If you link to the Advanced Search, you may select a search field from the drop down options to increase precision.  This is especially useful when searching for a known author or keywords in a title.
2.  Limit your results
  • When you run a search, the search engine is returning results from many different databases, including the Library’s MnPALS catalog. Like Google, search results lists can be very large and overwhelming. Use any of the options on the left side of the results screen to refine the results. Common limits include:
  • Limit to Peer-Reviewed Journals -- This limits results to peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals.  Many articles are directly available in HTML or PDF, or can be linked to clicking the FindIt! icon. Sometimes, the FindIt! link is unable to locate a fulltext source online for the article; in this instance you will be directed to interlibrary loan.
  • Limit to Full Text Online – This limits results to any online fulltext , including books, popular articles, scholarly articles, and reviews. No interlibrary loan.
  • Limit to Library Catalog – This limits to physical and online items (books, videos, etc.) avaiable the Library in the Miller Center.  Item availability displays for physical items and links for online items.
  • By publication date – LibSearch uses a slider.  Move either end of the slider to limit either the start or end date of publication OR highlight the start or end date and type a new start or end year.
  • Further limits by resource type, subject, language, and by location database can be used.
  • Any limits you apply will appear in the "bread bin" (often referred to as “bread crumbs”) at the top of the left column. An "x" is next to each limiter; click the “x” to remove a limit. 
  • Tip: Especially large search results can be refined by using multiple limits or adding search terms. More than one limit can be used.
  • Tip: Note that the resource types limit includes the number of results for each resource type.
3. View full records and full text documents
  • Brief records are initially displayed on the first results page. These records will often provide you with enough information to assess whether you want to see more results or if you should refine or change your search. 
  • If an item is available in full text you will see an HTML or PDF full text icon. Some full text results will have tools that enable you to listen to the text (automated speech-to-text) or to translate it (machine translation). 
  • Tip: The Library may have full text access to articles not available within the search engine. To access articles that may be available in full text outside of this search service, use the FindIt! link. This link can either be found on the main results screen on an item's brief record or on item’s detailed record.

25. How long does it take to receive a journal article or book on Interlibrary Loan from another library?

If another local public or academic library has the book or journal you need, the fastest way to get it is to go to the library. Your SCSU ID can be used to check out books at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.

Articles take anywhere from two days to more than 10 days, depending on how obscure the item is and how many libraries own the journal title. Books take anywhere from three days to three weeks, for the same reasons. More information about Interlibrary Loan.

26. What search features are available with LibSearch?

  • Basic single search box searches nearly 80 Library databases simultaneously
  • Basic and Advanced Search options
  • Multiple options are available to Refine Results
    • Limit to Peer-Reviewed Journal articles, to Full Text Online, to Library Catalog, to range of years.
    • Limit by Resource Types—academic journals, magazines, news, books, ebooks, reviews, videos, audio, and more
    • Other limits by Subject, Language, Geography, or by Database
    • Check boxes allow users to refine results by multiple source types, clusters, and content providers or databases
  • To the right of the Result List, you can search additional databases not included in LibSearch
  • Availability of book titles in SCSU collection is displayed in the search results
  • Persistent “Permalinks” to search results, abstracts, or fulltext
  • Persistent link posting to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other social media tools
  • Links to full text outside of LibSeach are available through the FindIt! button
  • Citations are formatted for you (including APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
  • Citations can be exported to Mendeley, Zotero, and other bibliographic management tools
  • Save search terms and receive search alert updates
  • Works well with most mobile devices

27. When should I go directly to a subject-specific database instead of using LibSearch?

If you are doing upper-level, advanced research and/or looking for information that is subject- or discipline-specific, the Library recommends that you use a database that specializes in that subject or discipline area. To select a subject-specific database, use the Databases A-Z list or consult the Library's Research Guide that covers your discipline (i.e. Business, Psychology, Biology, Communication Studies).

If you are only looking for books or media items, it is recommended you use solely the MnPALS catalog.

28. Where are Archives located?

Archives is located on the Second Floor of the library. Items in this area of the library will appear on the catalog as MC Rare (In-Library Use Only).

29. Where can I get help with library jargon and terminology?

There are many web pages with definitions for confusing library jargon such as abstract, citation, call number, bibliography, periodical, and more.
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