How to check the Libraries for your textbooks and course readings

Explore ways to get your textbooks and readings. The Libraries don't have every textbook but we might have something you need. We work to save you money!

Step 1 - check Canvas, the Bookstore or the list of textbooks

In partnership with the University of Minnesota Bookstores, the University Libraries provides you with a list of free U of M required books. You can find these books in many ways: 

Check the UMN Bookstore



Check your Canvas course sites

Go to and login. View the Library course materials link to view materials your instructor might have. 

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Search the ebook list



Note: If your instructor doesn't have this -- feel free to share these options we them and we can work with instructors on options including checking to see if the Libraries can buy a ebook version of the textbook. 

Step 2: search for print or older editions

Sometimes you can use an older edition. If you have it, check it ou and check with a classmate to compare with current edition for any major differences. For example, if there is a new chapter at the end, ask a classmate to borrow it or request that one chapter through the Interlibrary Loan request form

Step 3: If we don’t have it, request it (from another library)

Using our Interlibrary Loan service online request form, we will work to get the textbook from another library. Generally this will take 7-10 days and you can pick it up at a library that is convenient to you. The book will be labeled with how long you can keep it. It likely won't be for the whole semester but you have options 1.) renew it (directions will be on the label) 2.) request another copy of the book from another library 3.) If you don't need it for the whole semester, request it to get to you when you need it. 

Tip: If you need a chapter quickly -- you can request 1-2 chapters via Interlibrary Loan in 2-4 days. Note: Unfortunately due to copyright law, you can't request the whole book this way. 

What about articles? Do I need to buy PDFs?

No! There are may ways your faculty or instructors might share readings with you. If you get a list on a syllabus for example that doesn't include links -- search for the article title in Libraries search on or use the Interlibrary Loan request form or ask us! The Libraries can help you to get the course readings and materials you need. 

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2023 11:18 AM