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Latin American Library Research Basics

A self-guided learning tool for building research skills in Latin American, Caribbean, Latinx, and Iberian Studies at Tulane University.

4.1. Learning Goals: Find Books

In this module, you will:

  • learn how to find and check out books from The Latin American Library and other areas of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library

4.2. Find Books in Library Search

In the previous module, you watched videos about navigating TU Library Search-Advanced Search. All books and ebooks that Tulane University Libraries (TUL) own are cataloged and discoverable in Library Search.

The main access point to Library Search is on the TUL homepage,

As a reminder, you can access the Advanced Search from the TUL homepage:


To limit your search to print books and ebooks, make sure to select the LIBRARY CATALOG button at the top of the Advanced Search, and BOOKS from the Resource Type dropdown to the right of the search lines:


If an ebook of the title is available, you will see a record with an Available Online link. If the book is available in print, you will see a call number consisting of the library location and an alphanumeric 'address':


Note: the vast majority of books about Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Iberian Peninsula are not available electronically via TU Libraries. Overall, the e-book platforms supported by library systems in the United States are highly skewed toward books published in English in the U.S. and U.K. This is why it's essential to learn how to find and check out print books! E-books represent just a sliver of academic production about Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Iberian Peninsula.

4.3. How to Find a Book in the Library Stacks

When you see a print book you're interested in, how do you retrieve it and check it out?

Think of the call number--circled below in red--as the 'address' of the book. 


Tulane Libraries use call numbers following the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Watch the below video from the Storms Research Center at the University of Valley Forge to learn how the LC system works.


Now that you know how books are organized according to LC classification system, you're ready to go look for books in the LAL and Howard-Tilton stacks. Note that the floor number is provided above the call number in every item record. The Latin American Library Open Stacks are located on the 4th floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.

When you find the book/s you're looking for, you can check them out on the 1st floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.


  1. Use the keyword strategies you practiced in the previous module, plus the boxes above, to find a print book for your research project in Library Search
  2. Go retrieve the book in the library stacks and check it out. 
  3. Read and/or peruse the book and bring it to class. Prepare to reflect on how the experience of reading a book in print for your research differed from reading articles and other sources online.

4.4. How to Request an Item for Check Out

One of the benefits of going to look for a book in the stacks yourself is that you will be able to browse books related to your topic on the surrounding shelves.

BUT, if you'd prefer to skip the process of going to the stacks to find a book, Tulane Libraries offer a delivery service. 

Click here for instructions on how to request a book and retrieve it at the Check-Out Desk on the 1st floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.

4.5. LAL Locations in Library Search

When you search for books in Library Search, you'll find many other locations besides Latin American Library Open Stacks and Howard-Tilton Library Stacks, such as:

  • Latin American Library (Open Stacks Oversize)
  • Latin American Library (Reference)
  • Offsite Depository (Latin American Library)
  • Latin American Library (Rare Books) / (Rare Oversize) / (Rare Miniature) / (Rare Pamphlets) / (Rare Newspapers) / (Rare)    
  • Latin American Library (Closed Stacks)
  • Not available - In Process
  • Not available - Loan
  • Not available - Acquisition 
  • Check Holdings

Watch this video and/or see the page LAL Locations in Library Search for detailed information on how to find and access books in all these locations.


  1. Use the table on LAL Locations in Library Search to answer the following questions:
    1. How can I check out a book from the Offsite Depository?
    2. How can I access a book that is "In Process"?
    3. How can I access a book that is already on loan to another library user?
    4. How can I consult a book with a Rare or Closed Stacks location?
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