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How Do I

Finding Items in the UMass Amherst Libraries Collections

Find a book

Use the Five College Catalog tab on the search box of the library’s home page, or for more search options, go directly to the Five Colleges Libraries Catalog.

Another option is to use the UMA WorldCat tab on the search box of the library’s home page, enter your terms in the search box, and select UMass Amherst Libraries from the drop down menu next to the search box. From the search results page, select "Books" under Format in the left column.

Locate books in the stacks

Use the library catalog or UMA WorldCat to find the availability, call number, and location of a book, either in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library or the Science and Engineering Library. To locate a book in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, see the Call Number Location chart. If you do not find the book on the shelf, please stop by the Circulation Office for help.

Find an article on my topic

Start with the Research Databases list and select a subject. The most recommended databases for that subject are listed at the top (Best Bets), with related databases listed below. Choose one based on the best match for your topic. If you have a general topic or you’re not sure where to start, try a UMA WorldCat search and from the search results page, select "Articles" under Format in the left column. Alternatively, you can ask a librarian.

Retrieve an article

Full-text of an article may be available online from the database you’re searching, or through another library database. Look for UMLinks  in the citation to get a list of options for obtaining the article.

Find out if a particular journal, magazine, or newspaper is available from UMass Amherst

To find electronic journals, magazines, and newspapers, search the Library’s E-Journals list. Search the Library catalog with the Journal Title Search option for print and electronic periodicals.

Find a print, media, or music reserve

Print, media, and music materials selected by faculty for students in specific courses can be found through a Reserves search of the UMA Library Catalog. Check out print and media reserve items at the Circulation/Reserves desk on the lower level of the Du Bois Library. Use Music Reserve items in the Music Reserve Lab, Fine Arts Center, Room 149A.

Find an electronic reserve

Electronic Reserves has scanned materials selected by faculty for students in specific courses. Electronic Reserves are available 24/7 from any computer with Internet access. You will need to login with a password. Passwords may only be given out by instructors. They are always lower case and are specific for your course. Passwords are not available from the library.

Find audio or video materials

Search the Five Colleges Libraries Catalog for DVDs/Videos/Films at UMass (under the “More” tab in the catalog). For audio materials, do an Advanced Search and limit by format and location.

Alternatively, try a UMA WorldCat search and from the search results page, select the format you want from the left column.

Find Images

The Image Collection Library lists and rates image resources.

Donate materials to the Library

If you wish to donate materials to the Library, contact James R. Kelly, Humanities Bibliographer, at (413) 545-3981 or

Request that the library acquire a book

The Libraries welcome suggestions for titles to consider purchasing. Your suggestion will be evaluated based on the Libraries' collection development policy and current budgetary constraints. All library users are welcome to suggest items that should be added to the collections by submitting recommendations through the Recommend a Purchase form.

Borrowing or Obtaining Library Materials

Get a library card

For students, faculty, and staff of UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, your college ID (the UCard at UMass) is your library card. Adult residents of Massachusetts and secondary students under 18 years old can get a library card after completing the borrower card application. UMass faculty, staff and special needs students may designate an individual to check out books for them with a proxy card.

Renew an item

You can renew most library materials in person (at the Circulation Desk on the Lower Level of the library), online, or by written request. Some library materials, such as reference and law, and those in Special Collections and University Archives, are designated as non-circulating. Loan and renewal policies vary.

Check on my library account

My Library Accounts provides links to various library accounts and logins, such as: Five College Libraries Borrowing, Interlibrary Loan, and RefWorks Citation Manager.

Get an item not at UMass

Look for the Request Item ( ) link from within the Full View of the catalog record in the Five Colleges Libraries Catalog (Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, and Hampshire), or the Request Item through Interlibrary Loan from within a UMA WorldCat record. The request form will ask you for your library barcode number, which is located on your UCard. This service is only available to UMass faculty, students, and staff with a valid UCard.

If unavailable from the Five College Libraries, use Interlibrary Loan to get an item from another library. You will need to set up an account to use the service online.

Request delivery of an article or book from the UMass collections

Current UMass Amherst faculty, students, or staff may use the Library Express service to request delivery of materials from the W.E.B. Du Bois Library and the Science and Engineering Library.There is no charge for this service at this time..

Recall a book from another user

Recall an item that is checked out to another user through the Request Item ( ) link within the Full View of the catalog record. If you have an item recalled by another user, you will receive a Recall Notice. See Request Items, Recalls & Five College Delivery for more information.

Check on the status of my requests

Check the status of your Five College Library requests through the Five Colleges Libraries Catalog My Account Link. To check on your requests outside of the Five College system), login to your Interlibrary Loan (ILL) account.

Borrow a laptop computer

UMass Amherst students (only) with a valid UCard may check out laptop computers from the Lower Level of the Du Bois Library at the Circulation/Reserves desk. Wireless access is currently available on all floors.

Change my e-mail address with the Libraries?

UMass students, staff members, or faculty members, contact the Office of Information Technology (OIT - to change your email address. If you are a member of the community-at-large, send a message from your new email address to: or notify a circulation staff member in person when you next visit the library.

Getting Research Assistance

Get help with my research

Librarians are eager to help. Reference services are intended primarily for UMass students, faculty, and staff. We respond to inquiries from the general public as staff time permits.

Choose the best databases for my topic

Consult the Research Databases list or the Subject Research Guides. If you are still unsure, Ask a Librarian to get personal help - tailored to your topic - from a librarian.

Connect from off campus

You need an OIT computer account to connect to the UMass Amherst’s subscription databases and electronic journals from off-campus. When selecting a database or e-journal from off-campus, you’ll see a login page where you enter your UMass network account username and password. If you have a problem, consult Connection Problems?

Cite a source for my paper

  • RefWorks: Automatically converts citations into properly formatted bibliographies. Styles include MLA, APA, Chicago, American Anthropological Association, IEEE, and more!
  • Citing Sources: This website gives examples of what your citations should look like in APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian and CSE.
  • Style Guides: Ask for these and others at the Reference and Research Assistance Desk:
    • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers by Joseph Gibaldi Call # Ref. LB2369 .G53 2003
    • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Call # Ref BF 76.7 .P83 2001

Get assistance with copyright or open access

The Scholarly Communication Office provides a number of online references and resources relating to open access, publishing, copyright, and fair use.  Services are available for authors, researchers, and teaching faculty and instructors, as well as for University staff, librarians, and students. 
You can also contact the Scholarly Communication Office directly, or request digital scholarship and consulting services

Using Library Building Services

Print or make copies in the library

Computer printing and copying anywhere in the Library require payment on the UCard (student or staff ID card) account. UMass students receive a certain amount of free printing every semester. Visitors may obtain an UMass Guest Card in the Learning Commons for printing. All computer printers and copiers require either a UCard or a Guest Card; none of the machines take cash.

Add money to my UCard (debit account) or UMass Guest Card

In the Learning Commons and on the 5th floor you can use the UCard machine to add money to your account, or you can add money online with a credit card.

Use a locker in the Du Bois Library

Keys for the library's 3 day (72 hour) lockers located in the Du Bois Library may be checked out at the Circulation/Reserves service desk on the lower level of Du Bois. Any locker whose key is not returned to the Circualtion/Reserves desk within 1 day of the due date will be emptied and the locker contents will be stored in the Library Business Office for 30 days, with the exception of library books which will be returned to Circulation.  Unreturend keys will be billed to the patron as follows: a $50 Replacement charge, plus a $15 Processing fee plus a non-refundable $10 Billing fee. See the Library Locker Policy for more information about locker use.

Report an emergency, safety problem or problem with another user in the Library

Emergencies taking place in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, and any safety problems or problems with behavior of other library users in the building, should be reported immediately to the Building Monitors, located in the Entrance Level. Building Monitors can be reached by phone at 577-0840. Every elevator lobby has a campus phone.

Find something I lost or left in a library building

Items found in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library are stored for at least one month at the Circulation/Reserves service desk  (545-2623). Items left in the Science and Engineering Library (545-1370) are stored at its Circulation Desk until the end of each semester.

Schedule an event in the Library

To promote the scholarly and cultural life of the campus community, the UMass Amherst Libraries welcome applications to hold events in our facilities. The Libraries consider requests on a first-come, first-served basis. Fill out the application here.

Apply for Library Carrel Assignment

Library carrels are available for assignment prior to the fall semester for the academic year on a prioritized basis for:

 1.Doctoral students and retired faculty. 2.Masters’ students. 3.Faculty, post-docs, visiting scholars, and research staff (staff should provide documentation from their supervisor to justify a carrel to facilitate research).

Please read the Library Carrel Policy or you may contact the Circulation/Reserves office for assistance at (413) 545-2624.


Last Edited: 7 April 2015