How Do I...?

​Choose a Subject Area

Find Articles in Periodicals (e.g. Newspapers, Magazines, Journals)

To find journal articles, use either Smart Search (available on the library's home page) or the library's online databases. A list of our article databases is available at

Read Library Call Numbers

The library uses Library of Congress call numbers to classify most materials; however, Dewey and Local Call Numbers are used for certain collections, including the Betty A. McDonald Children's Collection. To learn more about “reading” call numbers, visit the Reference Desk.

Find Periodicals

To find specific periodicals (once you have citations for articles not available online), you must use the Journal Title search function in the Centra catalog. For additional assistance, please visit the Reference Desk.

Find Materials on "Reserve"

Search for materials placed on reserve by course (e.g. ENG 201) or instructor (last name, first name) by using this interface:

Access Electronic Books

The library has access to thousands of electronic books, records and links for which are found in the Centra catalog. If you do not know the name of a particular e-book, you can do a keyword search by topic and then limit results to Electronic under “Material Type.” Seek additional assistance at the Reference Desk.

Find Multimedia Materials (e.g. videos, CDs, etc.)

The CMU Libraries own thousands of audio and video recordings. If you know the title you are looking for, search by Title in the Centra catalog. However, if you have only a topic in mind, do a Keyword search in the Centra catalog and limit your results by either Material Type (e.g. DVD/Video, etc.) or Location (i.e. Media Services for films or Music Resource Center for music recordings).

Find Books for Pleasure Reading

The Browsing Collection located in the Mary Dow Reading Room (3rd floor of the University Library) offers hundreds of titles for pleasure reading. Though searchable in the Centra catalog, feel free to simply browse the books; they are shelved alphabetically by author’s last name. The checkout period for Browsing Collection materials is four weeks.

Find U.S. Government Documents

The library has thousands of United States government documents in print, electronic, and micro formats. Find these items in the Centra catalog via keyword searches and limiting your results by Location (Government Documents). For more information, see the Government Information Research Guide or visit the Reference Desk.

Find Dissertations and Theses

The library has (print and microform) copies of dissertations and theses written by CMU students. Records for these items are found by Title or Author in the Centra catalog. If you wish to search for dissertations and theses on a particular topic, do a keyword search and then limit the search results to Manuscript under “Material Type.” Seek additional assistance at the Reference Desk.

Find Maps and Atlases

The CMU Libraries own thousands of maps and atlases. One way to search for them in the Centra catalog is to include “atlas” in a keyword search for your country or limit your search to Map, under Material Type.

Use Microfilm/Microfiche

The library has thousands of microforms (i.e. microfiche, microfilm, and microcard). Records for these items are searchable in the Centra catalog, and most of these materials are housed on the third floor. You can print paper copies of microforms, so seek assistance for using these items at the Book Checkout Desk.

Search an Article Database

To locate journal articles on a topic, you will need to search one or more of the databases listed on the Databases by Subject page. If you know of a specific database you want to search, go to our Databases A-Z listing. For further research assistance, Ask a Librarian.

Check Out a Book

Books, films, and many government documents may be checked out of the library at the Book Checkout Desk or via the self-checkout machines on the first and fourth floors. If you are a CMU student, staff, or faculty member, your campus ID is your library card. If you are a community member, obtain a borrower’s card at the Book Checkout Desk.

Cancel a Request for a Book

If you wish to cancel a request for a book, phone the Book Checkout Desk at (989) 774-3114.

Obtain Books from Other Libraries via MeLCat

The Michigan e-Library Catalog (MeLCat) is a database that includes the item records for more than 400 libraries around Michigan. If we do not have an available copy of a book you need, CMU students, staff, faculty, and alumni can request the book for free through MeLCat and receive it in 3-5 business days. For more information, contact Documents on Demand at

Use Library of Congress Subject Headings

Materials in the CMU Libraries are arranged by subject and are assigned Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings, which aid in precision searching. To learn more about searching for materials using LC Subject Headings,visit the Reference Desk.

Find Directions to the Park Library

The Park Library is located on 250 East Preston Street in the heart of the CMU campus in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (zip code 48859). Find directions to Central Michigan University and a printable campus map here.

Arrange for a Proctored Test

If you are taking an online class and need to have a test proctored, please call (800) 688-4268 or (989) 774-1129 or complete the online form at An appointment is required for the proctoring to take place. All test proctoring is done in Room 321 of the Park Library.

Visit the Writing Center (in the Library)

The CMU Writing Center is located on the fourth floor of the Park Library.

Location of Live Ethernet Ports

Green dots mark the locations of live Ethernet ports at study tables and carrels.

Send a Fax in the Library

The CMU Libraries no longer offers faxing services.

The CMU Bookstore offers fax services at a rate of $1 for 1-5 pages, $2 for 6-10 pages, $3 for 11-15 pages, and so on. The Bookstore accepts cash and credit as payment, making it an ideal alternative for inactive students, guests, and other individuals who lack a billable CMU account.