Use your local libraries!
While the Walden University Library aims to provide as much content as possible, we can't provide access to everything. Some items are not available in online formats. It's also difficult for us to develop a collection based on local issues, because our students are all over the world.
Depending on where you live, you may have a number of local libraries—both public and academic—with readily available research materials. Get to know your local libraries. The more access points you have for research, the better your scholarship will be.
If you have a library card to your local public library, you should be able to borrow and/or view the available books and journals. In addition, your local library may:
- be part of a larger consortium (county-, state- or province-wide), giving you access to a wider range of materials
- have interlibrary loan, so you can order books and items from other libraries
Many college and university libraries allow outside community members to view their collections (especially if they're publicly funded). Though you probably won't be able to borrow books without arranging special privileges, often you can:
- view books and journals on-site
- make photocopies of articles or book chapters
- potentially get a guest login to use their research databases from within the library, then save or print articles
Borrowing privileges vary widely. Check out the websites for the libraries in your area to find their borrowing policies, or contact the libraries directly.
Look up items in WorldCat
WorldCat is a combined catalog of libraries all over the world. You can search for a variety of items then enter your location to see if local libraries have what you want.
Let's say we are interested in locating the book, Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, by John Dewey.
- Enter the book title in the search box.
- Click search and look for the correct result.
Tip: you may see several similar results, but you will want to select the result nearest you that will meet your needs.
- The system normally will detect your location. You will find your location displayed toward the top of the page. Use the drop-down menu to confirm or change location.
- Note that you can use checkboxes on the side of the page to limit to ebooks or print books, or to limit to items BY Dewey using the Author/Creator box.
- Click on a book title to see libraries near you that have the book. By default the display will show academic libraries, but you may limit to public libraries using the Only public libraries checkbox above the first library listed..
Finding a journal article follows the same basic steps
- Enter the title of the article in the search box. For example, Systematic Review of Burnout in US Nurses
- Select the Articles checkbox on the side of the page.
- Match the result carefully. The item is labeled Article.
- Click the article title. You will find a list of nearby libraries that subscribe to the journal.
Before you visit the library, it's best to contact them to confirm that they have what you want and that you would have access to it. Click on the Library's name from the display, and it will show a phone number and/or other contact information.