Dude, Where’s My Book?

With literally millions of books at your fingertips, it can sometimes be difficult to locate the exact one you’re looking for. Below is a brief description of some of the more common places your book might be hiding.

Herman B Wells Library

Okay, let’s assume you know where the library is. But how do you find a book once you’re here? IUCAT, Indiana University’s online catalog, is your one-stop-shop for all things bookish. Once you find your book in IUCAT, take note of the collection and the call number. The two main collections in the library are the Research Collection and the Core Collection.

The Research Collection, located on floors 4-10 of the East Tower, supports the research of both faculty and students.

The Core Collection, located on floors 2-3 of the West Tower, contains in-demand titles central to IU’s undergraduate curriculum.

To determine exactly which floor your book is located on, as well as to find other collections in the Wells Library, check out this online Collections Directory.

If you need help reading call numbers, you might want to look at this guide to call numbers.

Bloomington Branch Libraries

Bloomington has 14 (that’s right, 14!) branch libraries. These are subject-specific libraries that house collections in the sciences, fine arts, education, business, law, and the list goes on. Check out the list of the branch libraries and hours and click on any library to find out more.


If you see that your book is in the ALF, that does not mean that it is being held by a cat-loving extraterrestrial. The ALF is our Auxiliary Library Facility located just off campus, housing millions of books that can no longer be held in Wells. To request an item from ALF, simply click on the link next to the listed item in IUCAT. It’s as easy as that! If you request your book before noon, you can pick it up at the East Tower Circulation Desk that afternoon. If you request it after noon, it will be available by the next morning.

Visit the Request From ALF page to find more information about getting ALF items.


Other IU Campus Libraries

IUCAT does not just contain items available on the Bloomington campus; it lists items from all IU campuses. If an item is able to be delivered from another IU campus, you will see a red “Request Delivery” button on the right-hand side of the record for the item in IUCAT. Your item will be delivered in 4-7 days, and best of all, it’s free! Hint: make sure you’re logged in to IUCAT or the “Request Delivery” button will not show up!

I Don’t See My Book in IUCAT

Not a problem! Interlibrary Loan (ILL) allows IU affiliates to borrow items from other libraries around the country (and even the world!). Just like Request Delivery, this service is free for students, staff, and faculty. You will need to log in with your IU ID and passphrase, then fill out an ILL Request. Items requested through ILL are usually available within 2 weeks.

ILL isn’t just for books either! You can also have articles delivered directly to your email inbox using this same service.

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to get the reading materials you need. As always, if you have any questions you can Ask a Librarian.

Happy reading!