How to use the Library

Borrow Books

How do I get a library card?
Your student card is also your library card. You can get your card from Student Services. Only current students can use the library.

How many books can I borrow?
You can borrow up to 30 books at a time from our Main (non-fiction), CC Reads (fiction) and ESL collections. You can borrow up to 2 textbooks and other reserve books at a time.

How long can I borrow books?
Use the table below to find out how long you can borrow items. You will have to pay a fee for overdue items. To avoid fines, you can renew non-reserve items.

Item type

Loan period

Overdue charges

Maximum fines

Print books (main collection, CC reads, ESL)

3 weeks




3 hours


no maximum

Art & history reserve books

4 days




1 day




2 days



Calculators and chargers

3 hours


no maximum

Board games

1 day



Once maximum fines have been reached, you will be charged the replacement cost. Your account will be blocked if you have $25.00 or more in outstanding fines. Make sure to settle your library fines each semester, or you may be blocked from registering or graduating.

Finding Books on the Library’s Website

  1. Go to the Library’s homepage.
  2. Find the search bar and select the “search books” option.
  3. Enter keywords related to your topic or the title of a book and hit “search.”
  • Start simple. Try using just one or two keywords to start.
  • Use keywords that might appear in the title, summary, or subjects of a book.
  • Search using a broad term to start. Ex: Racism instead of “Racial Profiling.” If you get too many results, use narrower terms.
  • Combine synonyms and related keywords with OR to get more results.
  • Combine keywords representing different concepts with AND to get more specific results.
  • When you want to find a specific book try searching by the book’s title only. If you get many results, try adding the author’s or editor’s name to your search.
Finding Books on the Shelf

All of the books in the library have a call number. When you search the library for books, the call number appears under “Shelf Location.”

The call number is the book’s address. Books are arranged on the shelf by call number, from smallest to largest number.

Call numbers must be read in sequence:

  • 333.790911 comes before 333.8 on the shelf
  • Books are arranged alphabetically next: 333.8 CLA comes before 333.8 SMI

Each book has a label on it, with its call number.

Borrow Textbooks

It’s best to buy required textbooks from the bookstore.

The library does not loan textbooks for use over the entire semester. Most Canadian academic libraries do not provide any textbooks.

The library has a few copies of some required textbooks. You can borrow these for 3 hours at a time.

The library has some textbooks available online that can be used for free at any time. Check here to see if an e-textbook for your course is available. 

How to Find Textbooks

1. See the library’s Academic Reserves.

2. Select your course to see which reserve books are at the library.

3. Ask for the required textbook at the library’s circulation desk.

Borrowing Textbooks:
  • Textbooks can be borrowed for 3 hours at a time.
  • There are no renewals or holds on textbooks.
  • Students can borrow up to 2 textbooks at a time.
  • Please return textbooks on time as other students are often waiting for them.
  • You may be charged a fine if textbooks are returned late.
Purchasing Used Textbooks

The library cannot guarantee access to our textbook collection. We recommend you buy a copy of all required textbooks.

You may purchase used textbooks at a lower cost through AbeBooks.

Manage your Account

Logging into your library account allows you to:

  • see the items you have out and due dates.
  • renew items to extend the time you can have a book.
  • save searches and lists of books that you can find in the library later.
How to log into your library account:
  1. Log into your account 
  2. Use your student number as your Library Card Number.
  3. Use the last 4 digits of your student number as your PIN.
  4. Having trouble logging in? Contact us.

Place a Hold

You can place a hold on books that are checked out to other students. You will be notified when the book has been returned and is ready for you to pick up.

To place a hold:

First, log into your library account:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Use your student number as your Library Card Number
  3. Use the last 4 digits of your student number as your PIN


  1. Search for the book
  2. Click on the “Place Hold” button

Renew Books

You can renew most books as long as no other student has placed a hold on the item. Renewing allows you to have the books you borrowed for a longer period of time.

You cannot renew textbooks and other reserve items.

How to Renew

First log into your library account:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Use your student number as your Library Card Number
  3. Use the last 4 digits of your student number as your PIN

Next, click on the down arrow that will appear next to your account, and click on “Account Activity.” From there, you can see all the items you have out on loan. Click “Renew Loan” to renew an item. If a book has been requested by another student, you will not be able to renew it.

Off Campus Access

When using the library’s databases from home to search for journal articles or eBooks, you may be prompted to log in.

The username and password is the same as your email or student portal (your student number and cc!MMDDYY). If you are unable to login using your student or staff credentials, contact us for help.

Copy & Print

The library has computers, printers and a photocopier for you to use.

How much does it cost to print or photocopy?

It costs 15 cents/page to photocopy.

It costs 15 cents/page to print in black & white and 20 cents/page to print in colour.

How do I pay for printing and photocopying?

The printer only accepts print cards or student cards loaded with money. You can load your card at the library using cash, debit, or credit. Ask a library staff member at the front desk for assistance with loading your card.

The photocopier accepts print cards or students cards, as well as coins.

How do I print from my laptop?

1. Open a browser and go to

2. Sign in with Columbia College ID

3. Click on Submit a Job

4. Select a printer (it doesn’t matter which printer you choose)

5. Click on Print Options and Account Selection

6. Select the number of copies

7. Click on Upload Documents

8. Click Upload from Computer and select the file(s) you want to print

9. Click Upload & Complete

Glossary of Terms

Borrow / Check Out

The same as issuing or charging a library item. To borrow books for a specific period of time at no cost.

Call Number

A call number is a series of numbers and letters that is a book’s address on the shelf. Each book has a call number. Call numbers also keep books on similar topics close together on the shelves. In the library catalogue, it is listed under “Shelf Location.” See the Borrow Books section of this page for more information on how to read a call number.


The library catalogue is the library search engine. You use it to search for books and ebooks.

Circulation desk

The circulation desk is where you go to check out books. It is located near the entrance of the library.


A service that allows you to request a checked out item as soon as it is returned to the library. When the item is returned, you are notified and the book is kept behind the circulation desk for a few days for you to pickup.

Loan Period

The length of time that you can borrow a library item.


The same as “re-issue.” A service that allows you to extend the time you have to keep a book for an additional loan period.


Materials that are placed on hold by professors at the Circulation Desk. Most reserves can be borrowed for 3 hours. Some reserves can borrowed for one day.