Skip to Main Content

Borrowing from the Library: Policies

Contains information for general borrowing procedures

Borrowing from Salem

This guide will walk you through the searching and borrowing processes. You can skip to the sections you need using the menu. 
Contact us if you have questions or need help accessing materials.

Searching the Catalog

The main search bar on the library's home page allows you to search for physical and online books, articles, films, and more all in one place. You can search by keyword, subject, title, or author, or any combination of those! For more in-depth help with searching the catalog and databases, schedule a research consultation with a librarian

From the search results page, you can narrow your results by using the filter options on the left. Under "Access Options" for each item, you can see if Salem online access to an item by clicking the blue button, or if Salem owns a physical item and where it is located in the library. 

If you found something not held by the Salem Library, skip to the section on Borrowing from Other Libraries!

If you have trouble accessing or finding resources, contact us with your questions or set up a Research Consultation

Finding Books and Physical Materials

You've discovered a book, DVD, other other physical item that is located in the library's building using the catalog, and you're ready to find it! You can get help finding any item by speaking to a staff member, and they can even help you navigate the library to find items on your own. Read below for more information on finding items in the library.

All library materials have a "call number," or a unique identifier that tells you exactly where to find the item. The Salem Library uses the Library of Congress (LC) call number system. You might be familiar with the Dewey Decimal system from your schools or public library, but LC call numbers are usually used by academic libraries. 

Call numbers sort materials by subject, author, and other bibliographic information. On the catalog under Access Options, you can find the location information and call number. Here's the call number for "The tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark" by William Shakespeare: 

Salem Libraries
Main Stacks
PR2807.A2 M69 2002

First, the item is in the main library branch (if you find an item that says it's in the Fine Arts Center, skip below to "Placing Holds"), then "Main Stacks" is the collection it belongs to. The majority of items in the library are in Main Stacks, and these items are on several different floors. The first one-three letters tell you which floor. 

A-G : 3rd Floor
H-M : 2nd Floor
P-Pz : 1st Floor
Q-Z : Basement 

Sometimes a call number will also have a prefix with additional information, so ask library staff for assistance if you need it!

The numbers following the first letter(s) tell you which row the book is shelved. Rows are labeled with the starting and ending call numbers. Find the range your call number falls in, then use the remaining letter and number pairs to narrow down the shelf and exact location of your item! 

Placing Holds

You can place a hold on materials held in the Fine Arts Center collection and on some materials in the Salem Library. Staff will find the item for you, and when it's ready for pick-up, you'll receive an email with pick-up information! All you have to do is visit the library and check out the item at the Information Desk.

If an item is available for holds service, a "Place Hold" button will be under Access Options in the online catalog. Click it, sign into your Salem Library account using Google login for your Salem email, and fill out the short form. Once you submit your hold, it will take 24-48 hours to retrieve the item. Reach out to us at if you have not heard back about your hold after two days. 

Checking Out Physical Materials

Now that you've located your item or picked up your hold or ILL, visit the Information Desk on the Ground Floor to check the item out of the library! You will need your Salem ID or a photo ID to verify the name on your account. 

Please note that an excess of fees or library conduct violations may impact your ability to check out items. Staff will be unable to check out items to you until a library account block is cleared. Please see our Policies and Procedures page to learn more about how fees impact your library privileges and how to clear fees or other library account blocks. 



Borrowing from Other Libraries

Need a book or an article, but Salem doesn’t own it? Get it from another library, either through Interlibrary Loan or TALA!
Please direct any other ILL inquiries to Someone will respond during weekday business hours.

Interlibrary Loan

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows Salem’s patrons to borrow materials that Salem doesn’t own from libraries throughout the United States (and from other countries, if necessary). Currently enrolled Salem Academy and College students, as well as faculty and staff, may use Interlibrary Loan.

How do I submit an Interlibrary Loan request?

  1. Find an item in WorldCat Discovery that you would like and open its detailed record by clicking on the title.
  2. If we do not hold the item or the item is not available for checkout, click the “Request Item” button (located under Access Options on the right).
  3. Log in to your WorldCat account, using your My Salem credentials.
  4. Fill out the contact information in the form that appears – you must include your Salem email address – and submit your request. For the patron ID field, enter the number on the back of your Salem ID card, not your student ID number.
  5. You will be notified by email when your request has been filled with access information.

TALA Direct Borrowing

Currently enrolled Salem College students and currently employed faculty and staff may borrow books directly from Wake Forest’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library, as well as 9 other academic libraries in the Triad region. Before visiting a participating TALA library, please call that library to confirm your eligibility of borrowing through TALA. You may be required to provide information relating to your enrollment or employment at Salem, including providing your Salem ID at the time of check out. ILL requests may still be submitted if you prefer for items to be mailed to Salem Library.

See the TALA Library Agreement for more information.

Salem Academy students are not eligible for borrowing through TALA. Please submit ILL requests to access library materials not owned by Salem.


Visit our Policies and Procedures page for the most up-to-date information on loan periods, renewals, fees, and other library policies.