The Cuesta Library Web Site is your gateway to accessing Library and online resources. Below are some frequently asked questions about the library and various resources. If these do not answer your question(s) please feel free to ask someone in the library.

FINDING PERIODICALS (Journal and Magazine Articles) and Working with Online Databases

ONLINE DATABASES - to see a complete list of databases and their contents, choose the Databases icon above or go to

  1.  What is the Periodical Holdings List (PHL), and how do I use it?

The PHL alphabetically lists all the journals and magazines available at the Cuesta Library, whether in print or on microform. There is a subject index as well. However, it does not include all the journals available electronically in EBSCOhost or SIRS. Check these databases for full text availability of other titles, or ask the librarian on duty at the Reference desk for assistance. Access the PHL from the Library Home Page under Find an Article. Choose Periodical Holdings List or go directly to

      2.  Where are the periodicals located?

Back issues for periodicals at the San Luis campus library are located at the east wall, directly opposite from where you enter the Library.

      3.  Why can't I check out a magazine or journal?

Magazines are fragile, and we only have one copy of each issue. You can copy the pages you need on photocopiers in the library. Copies are ten cents per page.

     4.  What subjects do the databases cover?

 If you go to, there is a list of every database we have at Cuesta... EBSCOhost is the largest, most general-use database. SIRS is good for social issues like euthanasia or capital punishment. ProQuest National Newspaper Index (NNI is helpful for national or international topics, since it includes the full text of 5 major newspapers. NewsBank indexes the SLO Tribune, which makes it valuable when researching local issues.

     5.  How can I tell which journals are available in a database?

In EBSCOHost, when you choose your database there is a titles list. In SIRS, hold the mouse on "Educators' Resources" at the top of the search page, then click on "more". At the bottom of the page, under "Library Support" there is a Directory of Publications..

     6.  What are "peer-reviewed" articles?

They are articles that have been read by other specialists in the same field. The term is used to indicate that before the articles were published in the journal, they were submitted to a panel of experts. In the eyes of the experts, the information meets the panel's standards of scholarship.

    7.  How can I find "peer-reviewed" articles?

EBSCOhost allows you to click on a "Peer Reviewed" only option when searching. However, if you are not sure if an article is from a peer-reviewed source you can ask the librarian on duty at the Reference desk, or look at the "Magazine vs. Journal" chart at

    8.  How do I cite articles from online databases?

That information is found in the MLA Handbook (Reference LB 2369 .G53 2009) and the Publication Manual of the APA (Reference BF 76.7 .P83 2001), available in the Reference book area. You can get handouts for MLA style at the Reference Desk, or you can print or refer to copies of the MLA handouts located at

     9.  How do I access library databases at home?

The best way to access the library's databases from remote locations is from the library channel in myCuesta. Go to myCuesta at http://my.cuesta.eduand login then look for the library channel on the Resources tab. For faculty the library channel is on the Faculty tab.

If you are off campus and try to access one of the databases directly from the library's web site you will be redirected to the myCuesta login page. Again, after logging into myCuesta you can access the library's databases from the library channel.

    10.  Having difficulty accessing a database?

There are several possible causes for this problem. The most probable cause is that your computer or web browser has a popup blocker/killer installed. This could be a setting in your web browser or a separate piece of software, designed to get rid of all the ads that pop up in new windows when you try to connect to a web site.

If you have a popup blocker/killer enabled, you will be unable to connect to any of the library databases. However, you can either temporarily disable the popup blocker/killer, or with many of them you can specify that you want popups allowed from the library web site only (

A couple other things you might try include:

  • Clear your browser cache (under options or preferences in your browser).
  • Check to see if the database loaded in a window hidden behind the login window.

How are the books stacks arranged?

They are arranged in Library of Congress classification order, from A to Z. You will find the entire Library of Congress number for a book in the eLibrary online catalog. Reference books, which are books that are for Library use only, are in a separate Reference area near the front of the Library on the low shelves. eLibrary will specify a book's location as Reference, Bookstacks, or Reserve.

   1.  How do I find a book in the Cuesta library?

Use Cuesta's online catalog, eLibrary.

   2.  How do I access the Library catalog (eLibrary) from home?

You can access the library catalog from any computer with an Internet connection by going to the library webpage at, then clicking on eLibrary under Find a Book.

   3.  How do I put a checked-out item on hold?

Find the book in Cuesta's online catalog (eLibrary). When viewing the item's record, click the "request" button on eLibrary's top navigation bar, then click the "place holds" link. Enter your library card number as your User ID or your student (Banner) ID as your Alt ID. The PIN is the last 4 Banner digits. Select the pickup location you prefer. Then click "place hold." Or come to the Circulation Desk and ask a staff member to put it on hold for you. We will telephone you as soon as the item is available.

   4.  How can I get a book sent from one Cuesta campus to the other?

Find the book in Cuesta's online catalog (eLibrary). When viewing the item's record, click the "request" button on eLibrary's top navigation bar, then click the "place holds" link. Enter your library card number as your User ID or your student (Banner) ID as your Alt ID, with the last 4 Banner digits as the PIN, and select the pickup location you prefer. Then click "place hold." Or go to the Circulation Desk and request that the book be sent from the other campus. There is a 24-hour turnaround time on intercampus requests.

   5.  How can I get a book that is not available at Cuesta? Is Interlibrary Loan available?

First, ask a librarian to help you find out if the material might be available. If not, you can try other local libraries, such as Kennedy Library at Cal Poly or the SLO public library. Cuesta students are allowed to check out books from the Cal Poly library, but need to have their current student ID or a copy of their current registration. Any resident of this county can use the public library system if they have a free public library card. Both Cal Poly and the public library system's online catalogs can be found by going to the Cuesta Library homepage under Find a Book. Choose Other Library Catalogs. If they don't have what you need, you can try an Interlibrary Loan.

   6.  Where are Reserve books located?

The reserve materials at both campuses are located behind the Circulation Desks, and may be checked out using your Cuesta College library card or Cuesta College student body card.

   7.  What are eBooks? Are eBooks available to non-students?

eBooks are full text print books that you access and read online. In eLibrary, they appear on your results list with ONLINE as the call number, and a location (on the right side of the list of results page) of Internet. See the eBooks page for information on how to access the eBooks from on or off campus.

   8. How do I find eBooks?

eBooks can be located through Cuesta's online catalog eLibrary and have call number ONLINE and the location "Internet." See the eBooks page for information on how to access the eBooks from on or off campus.

   9.  Do I need any special software to view eBooks?

eBooks are electronic books -- full text versions of printed books saved as Adobe Acrobat .pdf files. They can be read on any computer with Internet access. You will need an Adobe Acrobat PDF viewer to read them. This software might be already installed on your computer, or it is available for free from Adobe Acrobat. More information about our NetLibrary eBooks collection is available on the vendor's site (


   10  How do I access eBooks from off campus?

See the eBooks page for information on how to access the eBooks from on or off campus.

   11.  Can I print eBooks?

You can print some pages of some eBooks. Look for the print icon in the PDF file. eBooks are subject to copyright and use restrictions. You will see a warning message from NetLibrary if you try to print more pages than is allowed.


   1.  What library resources are available to Columbia College or Univ. of La Verne students and faculty?

Columbia College provides currently enrolled Columbia students with access to a broad range of databases through their Stafford Library web site ( In order to use Columbia subscription resources, you must obtain password from your instructor or campus office. The Stafford Library also provides an electronic reference service (

AskALibrarian.asp) for their students.

The University of La Verne provides extensive support to distance students through their Wilson Library ( To contact a librarian, see the Ask a Librarian page: (

   2.  Are there computers with Internet and Word?

At the San Luis Obispo campus, the Library and High Tech Computer Lab computers have both. The North County campus library has both on all their computers.

   3.  How do I print a document?

Go to the menu bar at the top of the document, click on File, then Print.

At the San Luis campus library: find the "number" of your computer on the CPU, and head for the GoPrint station. Press the number to get your job.

At the North County campus library: When you click on the Print dialog box, your computer sends the print request to a printer behind the Circulation Desk. Ask the person behind the desk for the material you have printed.

Special instructions for EBSCOHost: Click on the Print icon right below the green menu bar, click on Print in the middle of the page, then click on OK when the Print dialog box appears.

Special instructions for PDF full text files: PDF files are actually created by a program within a program. Click on the printer icon inside the web browser window, not the print icon or file-print on the menu bar.

If you only want to print part of the article: When the Print box appears, select Pages from __ to __ instead of All. Put the first page number in "from", the last page number in "to".

Printing on both campuses costs ten cents per page. If you choose, you may send articles from Ebscohost, SIRS, ProQuest, Newsbank, and results from eLibrary searches to an email address for printing later.

   4.  Are there any group study rooms?

Yes, along the walls in the San Luis Obispo campus library, and also at the North County library.

   5.  Are there copy machines available for library users?

Yes, there are four photocopiers in the room right inside the entrance to the San Luis Obispo campus library, and one at the North County library. Copying on both campuses costs ten cents per page.


   1.  How can I detect plagiarism?

Cuesta College has a contract with that enables faculty to use their software to detect plagiarism. Contact Kathy DeCou at x3190 to obtain your faculty login and password.

Some web sites dedicated to this problem include:

   2.  How do I schedule a library tour or subject orientation for my class?

Call or email Kathy DeCou at x3190, or Kevin Bontenbal at x3117, One of them can schedule your tour or orientation with an available librarian. To schedule a tour or orientation at the North campus call the library at 591-6211.

   4.  How do I request that a title be added to Cuesta"s collection?

Send a copy of the author, title, and ISBN number (if available) to Tina Lau. You may send your requests via campus email, call her at x4412, or email her at

   5.  Where is the form to order videos?

Forms for ordering videos can be found on the Instructional Technology Services homepage at Instructional Technology Services also handles video duplication, equipment loans and repairs, and Polycom teleconference requests.

   6.  What library services are available for Cuesta faculty?

Cuesta faculty may check out as many books as they need, for a semester loan period. You may also borrow videos to preview and show in your classes. Free Cal Poly library cards are available upon request. Technology questions can be directed to Kevin Bontenbal at x3117.