How Do I...?

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.  If you can't find the answer to your "How Do I?" question, contact us right away!

I need help with research but can't get to the library. Can you still help me?

Answer: Yes! Take a look at our Need Help? Ask Us! page, where you'll find a phone number for the Research and Information Desk (419-358-3450), our email address (researchinfodesk@bluffton.edu), and an instant messaging window you can use to chat with a librarian if one is available -- no IM service needed! Of course, we'd love to help you in person, too - use any of these options to set up an appointment to talk with a reference librarian one-on-one about your questions.

How do I search for books?

Answer: Click on Library Catalog at the library's homepage.  From here, you can search Musselman Library's materials.  If we don t have what you re looking for, you can see other options by searching in the OhioLINK Library Catalog. Request books and other library items online and have them sent here for you to read or use usually within 3 to 5 business days.

Can I check my library account online?

Answer: Yes! Just visit the library's homepage and click on Check Your Account. You'll need your Bluffton University ID, which will have your barcode number on the back.  From your online account, you can track your OPAL and OhioLINK requests, double-check duedates, and renew your materials.  If you have any questions about your account, please call the library s Circulation Desk at 419-358-3262.

Can I renew my books online?

Answer: Yes! Follow the instructions above for accessing your library account. Once you're in, look for a button that reads Checked out materials. Click on it, and you'll see a list of your checked out items. Check off the ones you want to renew, and click the Renew button. NOTE: if your books are already overdue, you may not be able to renew them online. If that's the case, call the library s Circulation Desk at 419-358-3262.

When is the library open?

Answer: During the school year, the library is usually open 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday; 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 11 p.m. on Sunday. We do vary our hours according to the university schedule, and you can keep up to date with our hours page.

Can the library help me find textbooks for my class?
Answer: There’s no easy answer. Borrowing textbooks can be a tricky proposition. It depends a lot on what type of “textbook” it is:

If it’s a traditional textbook that undergoes frequent updates, then it can be harder to locate. There may not be that many copies out there, even in the OhioLINK catalog, and there can be heavy demand for those. You may have to go back several editions to find an available copy. The content may have changed substantially from the “old” edition to the one that’s on your syllabus. In this case, you should always check with your instructor before using a previous edition.

If it’s just a regular book that your professor is using as a course text, there’s a better chance that it will be available, either at our library, or in OhioLINK or SearchOhio.

Where to look: start with the Bluffton University Library Catalog. Move next to OhioLINK. Then try SearchOhio. Finally, you can fill out an Interlibrary Loan request, but it can take up to several weeks for a book to get here. Also loan periods can vary, and renewals are uncertain.

Library staff can help. If you’re confused about where to look and how to get started, let us help you. We will, however, give you the customary, cautionary speech about frequent lack of availability, the risk of using previous editions, and the mixed success of finding the textbooks you need.

Borrowing rather than buying/renting: Fines can add up rapidly for overdue books. If you borrow the textbook, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your due dates, and renew as needed. If someone else places a hold on your specific copy, you will not be able to renew it. To see our borrowing policies, review this page: Borrowing Policies: Undergraduate and AGE Students.

In the end, it certainly can be worth trying to find a copy you can borrow rather than buying/renting, even with all the potential drawbacks. It’s up to you and your particular situation. Again,  we can help.