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Library Orientation: Print Resources

Whether you're a new student, or a not-so-new student unsure about library resources and services, the library orientation guide is here to help you get started.

Course Reserves

You can see the course reserves for a specific course in the online catalog by clicking the 'Everything' dropdown menu and selecting 'Course Reserves.' In the next field, select to search by Course Name, Course ID, or Instructor Name. You can identify course reserve items in the catalog by their location, 'Reserve desk', as shown below.

Loan periods vary from 2 hours to 7 days, and reserve materials may not be placed on hold or renewed. Reserve items are kept at the Circulation Desk and may be checked out by speaking to the library staff member on duty.


With the exception of our special collections, books in Barbour fall into two basic categories: the reference collection and the general collection. All of these items are listed in our online catalog. For basic instruction on using the card catalog, visit the Finding Books LibGuide.

General Collection

The general collection is the main collection in the library, and is comprised mostly of circulating books that can be checked out (although some of the general collection is non-circulating because of the condition of the material). The focus of our collection is theological, but we have books about numerous other related topics as well, like history, philosophy, fine art, and foreign languages. Since we have a number of commentaries in our reference collection, students sometimes assume those are all that we have, but there are thousands more in the general collection, as well as duplicate copies of those in reference. 

Identifying Items in the General Collection

If a book is in the general collection, the catalog record will look like the example below. The Location/Status is 'General Collection'. If someone has checked it out, the status will read 'Checked Out'.

The general collection is shelved in call number order across all three floors of the library. It begins on the second floor on the shelving outside of the Kunkle Room. The second floor holds Library of Congress call numbers A-BV, the first floor holds BX, and the ground floor holds C-Z.

Reference Collection

The reference collection is comprised of non-circulating reference materials, which are books intended to be used for introductory facts or a quick overview of a specific topic or subject, and are typically not read from beginning to end. Reference materials are a great starting point in the research process, and can also be an excellent bibliographic resource for further reading. Reference collections frequently include dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, directories, atlases, handbooks, etc. These can all be found in the Barbour Library reference collection, which also includes theological materials like commentary sets. You can search the reference collection only by using the 'Reference' choice under the 'Everything' dropdown menu in the library catalog. These books are non-circulating (cannot be checked out) to ensure that they are always available on demand, but sections of them can be copied or scanned to email for long-term use. The commentary sets in the reference room are duplicated in the general collection, so there is a copy that circulates while the reference copy is always available.

Identifying Items in the Reference Collection

If a book is in the reference collection, the catalog record will look like the example below. The 'Material Type' is 'Reference Book' and the 'Location/Status' is 'Reference Collection'.

All reference books are shelved in the reference room on the first floor in call number order.


While the library has a number of online journal subscriptions, we also have hundreds of titles in print. Many of these titles are indexed in various databases that may point you to a specific article, or you may find a relevant citation from other material you encounter in your research. Visit the Finding Articles LibGuide for further instruction on finding relevant scholarly articles, and the Finding Journals LibGuide for instruction on finding an article from a citation.

Identifying a Print Article in EBSCO databases

All item records in the EBSCO databases for articles available to PTS students have a note that states 'PTS owns this title. Check "Library Catalog (Print Materials)" for location.'

Items available digitally will have a 'PDF Full Text' link directly above the note. Items available in print will have a 'Check Barbour Library holdings' link instead, which will take you to the record in the online catalog. An example of a print item in EBSCO  is shown below.

                Screenshot of review article entry in EBSCO

Items not available in print or electronically will display "Notes:  Use Interlibrary Loan for titles not held by PTS." In these cases, contact the library for further assistance.