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MS7: Choosing to Participate Project: Finding Books

Finding Books

Some of you will have topics that can best be researched by finding a good book on the subject. The library has thousands of books in its collection, and the librarians are always happy to help you find a title.

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Helpful Hints for Finding Books

Before you run upstairs to grab your book, take a moment to look over the "record" -- the page you see when you click on a book's title. The record might give you information to decide if this book will be useful to you, including subject headings which will tell you the big themes of the book and, in many cases, a summary, a table of contents, or editorial reviews. Ask yourself:

  • Is this book relevant​Does it look like I will find substantive information about my topic? 
  • Is this book recentWhen was the book published? For some topics, this may not be very important, but for others it will be key. If you are researching same sex marriage in America, a book published in 1999 (before same sex marriage was legal), a book published in 2005 (when same sex marriage was only legal in Massachusetts), and a book published in 2015 (when same sex marriage was legalized in every state) will have very different information on your topic.


When you finally go to find your book on the shelf, make sure to take a look at the other books nearby. The library is organized by subject, so books on the same topic will usually be next to each other on the shelf.