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Students: Students

A few key concepts

  1. The library provides $400,000 worth of material you will not find in Google.
  2. The library provides reliable information compared to what might be found on the Internet.
  3. Library tools allow for much more precise want best results, not more results.
  4. Our subject pages point to the best tools for specific questions.
  5. You should never have to pay for material...we subsidize borrowing of books and articles.
  6. The library can help you discover, capture, and share information legally.
  7. The library does not purchase required textbooks, but we may have donated copies of some titles.

  See the suite of tutorials in the right column for short "how-to" videos on many research techniques and tools.

FAQ for Students

Library policies and procedures are the same for all SXU undergraduate and graduate students.

Do I need permission to use the Library? You are free to use the Library.

Do you have public computers? Over 30 workstations and five laptops (for in-library use) are available. You are welcome to use your own laptop computer in the Library, which has wireless access and power outlets throughout the facility.

Can I reserve a group-study room? Yes, 10 rooms are available, and you can reserve them through your mySXU portal. Look for the Reserve a Library Group Study Room link within the Resources section. At this time, the Library does not have special study rooms just for graduate students. There are also two first-come group study rooms downstairs -- a small room in the stacks and the Juvenile Collection room.

Do you have movies? The Library has an extensive movie collection. We have great films, TV series, and educational videos. You are free to borrow four at a time, for up to two weeks.

Does the Library have textbooks? A small selection built of student donations. For details see our Course Book Collection.

How many books and DVDs can I borrow? All students have the same generous borrowing privileges. You can borrow an unlimited number of books for eight weeks (plus an eight-week renewal). You can borrow up to four DVDs for two weeks, with no renewals. The Library does not offer home or on-campus delivery.

What about new students without ID Cards? Students must create an account in order to use the book catalog. Their Colleague ID, which is a piece of information required in order to generate a Borrower ID, is available from the mySXU portal by going to my.sxu,edu, clicking on Self-Service, Students, Academic Profile, and then My Profile. When asked to enter the Borrower ID, enter the school prefix  2131100 followed by your 7 digit Colleague  number. (This is equivalent to the numbers under the barcode on an ID card, without the leading and trailing letters.)

Is there any charge for interlibrary loan? No.

How do I check out books and videos? Bring the DVDs and books to the main desk by the front door and the staff will check them out for you. You must use your Cougar Card to check out materials.

Can I eat in the Library? No, solid food is not allowed. Drinks with covers are permitted.

What about off-campus access? When logged in with your netID and password, you can obtain full-text articles through our many databases. If the Library does not have the full-text article, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan using the Borrow From Other Libraries option, and the article will be delivered to you electronically. Delivery locations for books and videos are found within the book catalog, and can be designated at the point of request. Books and videos will not be delivered to locations beyond the existing delivery locations. When electronic books and streaming videos are not available, off-site users should obtain their books and other materials through local public libraries.

Information Fluency badge

Students who successfully complete the library quizzes will receive an Information Fluency badge: .

Ask a Librarian

Student Toolkit

Plan and Prepare

With the Library's Testing and Education Reference Center, you can prepare for CLEP tests, search for scholarships, find the graduate school that is right for you, and take practice exams including the GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MAT, MCAT, and TOEFL. You can create a personal account and then take the tests as often as you like. All at no charge!

Suggest a Purchase

To request that an item be purchased, the following information should be emailed to

  • Title of book/video/material
  • Author or creator
  • Year of publication
  • Source of your information (Amazon, web page, etc.)
  • Any other information that might help us identify the material
  • Course for which this material is relevant


Suggested Readings

The faculty have created an annotated list of significant books: Turn-Off-Your-TV Book Club

Children's literature resource list 

Best Book lists from many sources are found at Publishers Lunch Bookateria.

NPR's Book Concierge provides selected lists of best books from NPR staff and book critics. provides ranked book reviews and suggestions based upon crowd-sourced and professional reviews. 

You can find book reviews and suggestions within the free Library Thing or GoodReads personal book catalog databases.

You can also browse the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles.

The OCLC Top 100 Books determined by the ones held in the most libraries. 

You can browse our collection of fiction or Biography or poetry and then limit by topic/subject.

Readers' Choice Award Winners -- kids selections

Another option is the Biblioboard popular ebook and video platform brought to you by the State of Illinois.

The library maintains a Great Books Collection of recognized classic materials within the Bishop Quarter Room.

Library Explorer provides a novel way to visualize books and makes recommendations at the bottom of the individual book record.


The Network of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), Library of Congress, offers free recorded materials for eligible blind, visually impaired, and other print-disabled individuals throughout the United States and its territories. 

Reading Habits

As of 2017, Americans spent an average of almost 17 minutes per day reading for personal interest (as compared to almost three hours watching television and 28 minutes playing games and using computers for leisure). The average is down about five minutes since 2003.

Younger Americans (ages 15 to 44) spent, on average, less than 10 minutes per day reading for personal interest.

The percentage of American adults who read at least one book for pleasure in the previous year fell to the lowest level on record in 2017 (below 53%). The greatest decline in book-reading rates occurred among adults under the age of 55.

Direct to Reading Habits Data/Charts


Quick Tutorials

REMEMBER: Employers want a candidate who knows the difference between a "web search" and "research."

  • The library is where curiosity meets critical thinking.

The following tutorials highlight a few key library tools and techniques:

     Book Materials

     Journal Articles

    Capture, Cite, and Share (do NOT plagiarize)


  • SimplyAnalytics (was SimplyMap) contains United States census data, business data, and business points that can be manipulated and mapped. You can rank locations based on variables, create demographic analyses, and map variables to the county or sometimes the census Block.  If you sign in as a guest, you won’t need to create an account. Accounts are needed only to save search parameters and data results. (See our Information and help video page.)

Printing: Catalog, PowerPoint files, and Google Docs

The Big Picture




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