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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.

Fall 2020 Materials Circulation

At this time, book circulation is only available to PTS faculty, staff, and students. Walk-in checkout of books in the fall semester will be limited to course reserves only. All other circulating books and AV materials must be requested ahead, and will be pulled by staff and made available for pickup in the library lobby on a bi-weekly basis. All print materials will undergo a 3-day quarantine period between patrons. Visit Fall 2020 Book Pickup for instructions and information on obtaining books, course reserves, and print journal articles. Questions? Contact

Course Reserves

Course reserves are kept behind the front desk and are the only books available for walk-in checkout in the 2020 fall semester.  You can see the course reserves for a specific course in the online catalog by using the Quick Search dropdown options and choosing Course Reserves (By Professor), which searches by the professor's last name, or Course Reserves (By Course), which searches by the course number, with no spaces between the letters and numbers (OT110, for example). All course reserves have a 3-day loan period. You can identify course reserve items in the catalog by their location, 'Circ Desk-Reserves', as shown below.

Course reserve titles with the status "AVAILABLE" can be checked out at the front desk between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.on weekdays or requested via the book pickup procedure. Course reserve titles with the status "RECENTLY RETURNED - QUARANTINED" are in quarantine and cannot be checked out at the front desk, but can be requested via the book request procedure detailed in Requesting Books and Other Materials, as they will be timed to exit quarantine on the next book pickup day. Visit the Fall 2020 Book Pickup guide for instructions on requesting books.


With the exception of our special collections, books in Barbour fall in to 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. The reference collection will be accessible to library staff only in the 2020 fall semester. Visit the Fall 2020 Book Pickup guide for instructions on requesting books from the general collection, or requesting scans from reference books.

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 is 'Stacks'. If the book is on the shelf the status will be 'Available'. 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. 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 location is 'Reference' and the status is 'Lib Use Only'.

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. The print journals will be accessible to library staff only in the 2020 fall semester. Visit the Fall 2020 Book Pickup guide for instructions on requesting article scans from print journals. 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 CALVIN 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.