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Distance Learning: Books

Library orientation and advice for students and faculty in distance/online classes.


Through Slippery Rock University's Catalog and Discovery Search, many eBooks are available. These are available on and off-campus regardless of where you live. To search for eBooks, perform the following steps.

1. Go to the library's Catalog and Discovery Search.

2. Sign-in using your SRU E-Mail and password, using the button in the top right corner.

3. Select the "Library Catalog" search scope. (It is a drop down menu to the right of the search bar. By default it will say "Discovery").

4. Enter your search terms. This could be a keyword such as a subject or what you're trying to find books on. Or, if you know about a particular eBook or book and want to see if the library has it, you could enter the book's title.

5. Click the magnifying glass to search.


6. From the list of results, go to the column on the right side of the screen. (The column is named "Tweak my Results". Click on the following in any order: "Available Online" under Availability, and "Books" under Resource Type. This should reduce your list to just those materials that are eBooks.

7. From there, you should be able to click on the title of the item you are interested in. This will take you to a screen where a "View It" option should be part way down the page. You can select the Hyperlink under "view it" to view your eBook.

Please note that if you are Off-Campus,you may need to follow the steps under the "Off-Campus Access" tab in this Distance Learning Libguide before you can actually peruse the eBook.

If you have trouble, contact a librarian using the Ask A Librarian Portal - 


Physical Books: Your Options

While the librarians strive to have sufficient electronic resources available to support our online learners, there may be times when you need or want a physical book or other item. Unfortunately, we cannot ship physical books to distance students - but here are some options if you must have a physical copy of a book. 

Option One:  Visit Campus

Some distance students live too far away to make a visit practical, but if you are within driving distance, you are welcome to stop by and use your library privileges in person.  Check the library website for our hours (including evenings and weekends) and use the campus map to find your way around--the library is building number 39 on the map.  You can see the "visiting campus" tab for more information about planning your visit.

  • Normally, your SRU student ID card is used as your library card, but if you explain that you are a distance student, a supervisor can look you up in the system.  (You're entitled to an ID card if you want one; see the "visiting campus" tab for details.)
  • You can check out up to 50 items at one time.
  • Most books check out for four weeks, and non-print materials (DVDs, kits, models, etc.) circulate for one week.  
  • Items can be renewed up to three times, unless someone else has requested the item.  You can renew by phone or over the internet.
  • You can see the circulation policy on our website for more details. 

Option Two: Visit another Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education campus

If you aren't near SRU, but you are near another PASSHE school, check their library catalog to see if they have the item you need.  Students at any PASSHE school are eligible for borrowing privileges at all other PASSHE schools as well.  You will probably need to speak to a circulation supervisor the first time you borrow, to get set up in their computer system.  

Please note that Penn State campuses are a separate system from PASSHE; however, all Pennsylvania residents can request a Resident Borrower's Card, free of charge.  Present a PA driver's license or PA nondriver ID at a Penn State campus library to receive your card.   

Option Three:  Use interlibrary loan from your local public library

Interlibrary loan allows your local library to borrow books (and sometimes other items) from other libraries on your behalf.  The service is often free of charge, but it does take some time for your request to be processed and the item to be sent.  Policies and procedures vary from one library to another, so talk to a librarian at your local library to find out what he or she can do for you.

Option Four:  Ask about borrowing from other (non-state-system) campuses in your area

 Many college and university libraries offer borrowing privileges to local residents.  If the institution is not part of PASSHE or Penn State, you may need to pay a fee or make a donation in return for your card; however, the required amount is usually fairly reasonable.  If there is a campus near your home or workplace, call and ask.

Option Five:  Buy it

Depending on what book you're looking for and what time constraints you're under, it may make sense to simply buy the book you need.  Keep used books in mind as an option--sites like Amazon, albiris, and make it easy to buy used copies, and the discount from the cover price can be considerable.  To make sure you're getting the best deal, try Bookfinder.  This aggregator site allows you to search and compare prices for numerous online sellers at once.