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FAQs for Finding Books, Documents & More

Reference materials should be used in the library; however, faculty and staff may borrow some items for a negotiated period (please check with the reference librarian on duty).

Randall Library generally does not purchase textbooks for UNCW classes, but the library does have some textbooks. In order to determine if your textbook is available in the Library, follow the steps on the Find Textbooks page.

Yes, the library has a collection of children's books available on the 1st floor adjacent to the main restrooms. These books are identified by the location "UNCW Children's Books" (see map) or "UNCW Children's Easy Books" (see map) in the Library catalog. The Children's collection is shelved by these categories:

  • E : Easy (Picture) books: Arranged alphabetically by author's last name.
  • J : Non-fiction, including biographies: Arranged by Dewey Decimal Classification.
  • Fic : Juvenile Fiction: Arranged alphabetically by author's last name.

Young Adult titles are located on the 2nd floor (see map).

Since 2008, UNCW theses and dissertations (ETDs) have been electronic only, as required by the Graduate School. They are accessible through the library catalog. Those published before 2008 are in hard-copy printed format. They may be checked out from the library’s General Collection, with a second printed copy in University Archives. 

Some UNCW theses and dissertations are limited to on-campus use only, as indicated by a note in the online catalog record. 

catalog record showing note limiting access to on-campus use

  • Undergraduate students: 28 days for books from the general and juvenile collections and government documents. 21 days for books from the featured new books collection.
  • Graduate students: until the end of the semester for general collection books and government documents. Books from the juvenile collection circulate for 28 days for graduate students. Books from the featured new books collection circulate for 21 days for graduate students.
  • UNCW Faculty, Staff, & Trustees:  until the end of the semester for general collection books and government documents. Books from the juvenile collection circulate for 28 days for UNCW faculty, staff, and trustees. Books from the featured new books collection circulate for 21 days for UNCW faculty, staff, and trustees.
  • All others: 28 days for books from the general and juvenile collections and government documents. 21 days for books from the featured new books collection.
  • DVDs, VHS tapes, CDs, and Audiobooks check out for 7 days for all users.
  • eReaders can be checked-out for 14 days, but only by UNCW students, staff, and faculty.
  • For more information, please see


There are plenty of film scripts and screenplays that are part of the general collection. To find these, perform a subject search in the library catalog for “Motion Picture Plays.” This action will bring up screenplays in the General Collection and Special Collections.

The Honors Papers can be searched in the catalog with the Subject Heading “Honors Paper.” Visit this page for a search box. For the most part, they are shelved together in the call number starting: LD3971.7 H6 on the wall outside the Honors College (2nd floor of Randall). Some earlier papers are only available in the University Archives.


Place a request for that item. Search the library catalog for the item you want, click on the title of the item, then click the "Request" button at the top of the display: 

Placing a request for an item that is not available.
Complete the login form, click "Submit," and the message displays that your request was successful. Please see our holds FAQ for pick-up information.

For books, a recall notice will be emailed to the patron automatically when you place your request. The patron can use the book for a minimum of 21 days and has 7 days to return the recalled book. If the hold is placed within 4 days of the book’s loan period, the due date will not be altered.

To access your Randall Library catalog account so that you can see fines and due dates, what resources you have checked out, or what holds you have waiting for you, go to My Account.

For interlibrary loan requests, log in here: 

To access a database, journal, ebook, or other resource from off campus, you will be prompted to log in with your UNCW credentials.

To log in, please enter:

  • Your campus username (email address)
  • Your campus (email) password
  • You will be prompted to authenticate via DUO

Once logged in, you will be automatically transferred to the resource you selected.

Problems with your login?

To look for books in libraries worldwide use WorldCat (search WorldCat) and request them using Interlibrary Loan (more information). Books requested using Interlibrary Loan may take 1-3 weeks to arrive at UNCW.


Go here to get help with searching for books and other print resources through the library catalog. The catalog is a searchable list of everything that the library owns, except for articles.

For help finding the item you want, go to "Where do I find books, DVDs, and other materials in Randall Library?"

The library catalog shows a status for each item indicating whether or not it is available for checkout:

Determining the status of a searched item. 
These are the status messages you may see, and their meanings: 

Item is available for checkout.
DUE "09-29-11"
Item is checked out and due back on the indicated date.
Item is being processed and will be available soon.
Item is for library use only and cannot be checked out except to faculty or graduate students for short periods with librarian approval (except Special Collections books which do not circulate).
Item has been placed on hold by a patron and is ready for pick up at the Circulation Desk.
NOT AVAILABLE Item is temporarily not available due to special circumstances.
Item is not available – it is damaged and is being evaluated for replacement.
Item is not available – it has been reported missing and is being searched for by library staff.
Item is not available – it was not returned and the patron has been billed for the replacement cost.
Item is not available - it has been officially reported as lost and is being evaluated for replacement.
Item is not available – it was not returned and the patron's bill has been sent to the Business Office.
Item is not available – it was not returned and has been paid for by the patron.


There are also messages you may see elsewhere before an item has been cataloged:

Messages appearing about a searched item.

These are the messages you may see, and their meanings:

1 copy ordered for UNCW on 08-02-2010.
The library has ordered the item but it has not yet arrived.
1 copy being processed for UNCW.
The item is being cataloged and processed and will be available soon.

If you have any questions about status messages you see in the library catalog please do not hesitate to ask! Call the Research Help Desk at 910-962-3760 or the Circulation Desk at 910-962-3272 or email us at libref [at] or use the Chat link on the library homepage!

First, search for books, DVDs or CDs in the catalog. (For help with the catalog, go to how to search the catalog. If you need an article, go to the section on finding articles.) Note the location, call number, and status of the book or other item you want. If the item's status says it's available, you can check it out. If the status has a date listed under it, the item is currently checked out. 

To find an item that is available, think of the location as the "neighborhood" where the item is and the call number is its "address" in that neighborhood. For example, the book: 

Children and Television: Fifty Years of Research

is located in the General Collection (neighborhood) and it's call number is HQ784.T4 C512 2007. The call number is like its address (shelf HQ784) in the General Collection neighborhood.

You can click on the link under the "location" of each item to see a map of that location in the library. In this case, the General Collection map shows that it is on the 2nd floor of the library.

Finding the location of a searched item.

Books might be in the General Collection, Reference Collection, Featured New Books, or Government Documents collections. Media materials are located in the DVD, VHS or CD collections. For maps of the library to help locate these locations, click here

  • The Fledgling is available in a number of places, including the Reference collection (1951-1987), General Collection (1958-1987), and other copies available in Special Collections and Archives. 
  • The UNCW Catalogue is available at various locations including: at the Circulation Desk, in the reference collection, Government Documents, and Archives. 
  • You can search the library catalog using the "Title" tab and search for "University of North Carolina at Wilmington catalogue." 
  • You can search the library catalog using the "Title" tab and search for "Fledgling."

A UNCW thesis or dissertation is submitted as an electronic document, then the Dean of the Graduate School must review, approve, and sign it. Once the Grad School has aproved and accepted all of the theses and dissertations submitted in a semester, they provide the electronic copies to the library. The library will then add these electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) to their web server, and catalog each thesis and dissertation. The entire process from submission to cataloging can take several months to complete, and the steps are necessary to ensure that the theses are available and accessible to the research community. If you have a specific question about the status of a thesis, contact Gary Moore at mooreg [at]

What Next?

  • Make sure the Status of the item is "Available." If the status is something other than available, learn what that status means and what actions you can take.
  • Write down (or text yourself) the Location and the Call # for your item. You might think of the "Location" as the "Neighborhood" the item resides in and the "Call Number" as the "Address" of the item.
    Location and Call screenshot
  • View our Library Floor Maps for a general idea of library locations and call # arrangement.

Finding Books by Call Number

To learn how to find books by their call # watch this video

Browse the Collection

Use the Library of Congress Classification (LC) guide to find the call number range that corresponds to your subject area.

Interlibrary Loan

icon for ILL serviceNeed a book or journal article that we don't have in Randall Library? Request it through Interlibrary Loan. Just provide the citation and we'll find it for you.

Place an Interlibrary Loan request.

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