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How to Find Books

Books at the Davidson College Library

Physical books are located on the second level (Dewey Classified) and basement level (Library of Congress classified and Oversize collection) of the Davidson College Library, and available for checkout for students, faculty and staff using your Catcard. Reference books are non-circulating books available for use within the library.

The Music Library in the Sloan Building houses many of our music related books and sheet music.

Our browsing collection contains titles recommended by students, staff, and faculty and are primarily leisure reading titles. Students can recommend books at Main Street Books in Davidson--just bring one or two items to the counter, let the staff know that you are a Davidson student, and give them your name. Library staff will purchase new items every Monday, and the book will be checked out to the student who requested it. You'll be notified via email when your book is ready!

eBooks are online resources that Davidson College students, faculty, and staff can access from anywhere. We provide access to thousands of titles from variety of publishers and vendors. Many are digital rights management free (DRM-free) allowing users to download or print material without restrictions. You can search for electronic books by title or full text in electronic book collections.

Books & Research

When should you use a book for research? 

  • Do you need an in-depth,expert-level analysis of your topic? 

​​Scholarly books usually offer an extensive amount of information on one broad subject area or topic (ex. race in higher education, sport nutrition) whereas articles are usually a deep dive into a very specific problem or population. 

  • Do you need a variety of perspectives on one topic? 

Look for an edited book. Each chapter in the book will be written by a specialist in the subtopic. For example, a book might be about Geriatric Research in general but a book chapter could be an in-depth analysis of emotional barriers to health literacy for older adults. 

  • Do you need to locate more resources about your topic? 

Books often offer extensive reference lists, either at the end of the book or each book chapter. Use these to track down more information about your topic. Skim chapters that interest you and write down the in-text citation information in areas that you need to research more. 

  • Do you need information about something that happened over a year ago? 

"Remember that because books are so extensive, they usually take a year or more to be written, edited, and published. Therefore, you won't find books about a brand new topic. For example, if you are researching the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and social media as a non-profit fundraising tool, you might have to search for articles and blogs for research specific to the ALS challenge and use books for older information like social media fundraising." *University of Illinois, "How Do I?" 

How are books made? Why does it take so long?

Books usually take over a year because of how extensive the process is from idea to publication. In addition to the time the author needs to research for and write the book, editors and experts in the field often also need time to review the content for accuracy. 

An infographic describing the publication process

So what makes a book scholarly? 

Scholarly books go through the process described above with a reputable publisher or organization. Government printing offices and university presses often create "scholarly" books. Some examples include Oxford University Press, MIT Press, or Yale University Press. You can find out who the press is by looking at the cover page of a book.


Davidson College Library Research Guides are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Mailing Address: Davidson College - E.H. Little Library, 209 Ridge Road, Box 5000, Davidson, NC 28035