How Do I Find Information?

The library is an excellent source of information for your questions.  When in doubt, come to the library!  Here are some of the top sources in our library:

Online Catalog

Library Card Catalog

Remember when libraries used to have card catalogs?  We still do!  The only difference is that it is online!  The catalog provides access to all materials in our library and libraries in our nine-county system.  You can search for books and other materials, place holds on items, and check your library account.  The library provides three computers reserved specifically for the online catalog.  Two are located near the Check Out desk, and one is located near the Children’s Area.  You can also access the online catalog from any computer by going to our Library’s main webpage and clicking “Search the Library." to find the Online Catalog.

Dewey Decimal System

There are many ways to arrange books; early libraries used to arrange books by size in order to save space.  Imagine the difficulties in finding what you want!  Our library uses the Dewey Decimal System, which groups materials according to subject.  Therefore, all books on diabetes are shelved together, as are all books on cats.  When you find a book on a topic you are interested in, browse the books on nearby shelves.  You’re likely to find other books or videos that will be useful. 
ELM (Electronic Library Minnesota)

Electronic Library of Minnesota (ELM)

ELM is a fantastic source made available at our library through the MINITEX Library Information Network with assistance from the State of Minnesota.  ELM provides access to hundreds of thousands of magazine and newspaper articles, thousands of electronic books, and over 50 million titles from a worldwide catalog.

To get to the ELM databases, go to To look for magazine and newspaper articles or electronic books, click on a subject category that interests you.  There are lots of resources for students as well, accessible by clicking on Resources for Kids & Teens.



If you aren’t finding what you want in our library or in any library in our system, you can search other libraries in Minnesota and request items.  To access MNLink, click here: MnLink 


Library Staff

The best source of information is the person behind the Check Out desk.  Library staff are trained to help you make sense of the world of information.  We may not know the answer off the top of our head, but we know where to look for it!  Among other things, we can help you locate books on particular topics, recommend helpful websites, and show you how to use the online catalog.  Stop by and see us.  We’re happy to help!

Reference Books

Reference books are a great place to start your search because they provide easy access to reliable information.  Reference books are also valuable because they are authoritative; in fact, it is often easier to find reliable information in reference books than online!