Skip to Main Content
university logo

University Library

Service Desk Procedures & Guidelines

Service Desk Procedures & Guideline

How to Find a book for a Patron

If a patron asks you to look for a book, Onesearch (the search engine on the Library webpage) is the easiest way to go. 

  • You can refine your search in the grey area to the left. I find the filters I use the most are Resource Type (book, dvd, article, etc) and Location (you can see if we have a course reserve/textbook this way), but they are all helpful. Make sure to ask for the year or edition as we may have several editions of the same book. 

If the item is AVAILABLE:

  • If the item the patron is looking for is listed as Online Access or Full-Text Availability, advise the patron to sign into their calstatela account (sign-in button, top right corner of the page) so they can have access to it. 
    • The patron tells you the link is not working? Ask if they are signed in. If they are, there is a button that says Having a problem? Click here to report it to the Library! When we or the patron clicks on it, our E-Resources Librarian, Holly Yu will troubleshoot the problem.
  •  If we have the physical book the patron is looking for, you will see a call number like this: Available , Books - Level 3 South QH541.15.B56 .R68 2004
    • Write the level and call number down, then direct the patron on how to find it and ask them to come back to check it out. Only leave the desk to assist them to it if they ask for help.

If the item is NOT AVAILABLE:

  • What if Onesearch says the item is unavailable? 

               There are many things we can do to help the patron. 

  • Click on the item for more info on why it's unavailable (out of library, on loan, missing, etc). There's a way to see if another CSU has it by clicking Check Holdings at Other Campuses. Patrons can click the Request from other CSU Libraries: CSU+ button to request a CSU+ item themselves, but since you are helping the patron at the Service Desk, you will need ALMA to do this on the patron's behalf.



Requesting an CSU+ item on ALMA for a Patron


  • Look for the Item in ALMA, using the search bar at the top of the page. Make sure that the call number matches the record you saw on Onesearch. Notice that the status says "Item not in Place", this is why we are going to do a Resource Sharing request (also called a CSU+ request) instead of a regular request.

  • Once you click on Resource Sharing request, you will need to put the patron's CIN number first, make sure it says "Physical" in the requested Format Field, and lastly but most importantly, change the Requested Pickup Location to John K. Kennedy Memorial Library. Click Save. Done! Let the patron know they will get an email when it is here on the hold shelf for them to pick up. 

Pro Tip!

Item cannot be found on CSU+ ?


  • If it's not a course reserve textbook, have the student request the Item through Interlibrary loan!
  • Do they need it right away? Check for the title. Sometimes (not always), there is a preview version of the book, sections of the book are often available for free!
  • Unsure if the book is carried by any library? Use to see all the libraries around the world that carry the item you are looking for. Interlibrary loan personnel use this as a guide, it's a super useful tool.


John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300