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Navigating the Libraries: a guide for first-year students at Swarthmore

How to find books: using Tripod effectively

To find books, movies, or audiobooks, use Tripod, the library catalog for the TriCo Libraries. 
  1. Search Tripod by title, author, or subject keyword.
  2. Once you've found a book (or other item) that looks relevant, look under "Holdings" (below the title and subject information) to check whether the book is available at Swarthmore:
For example, if it says Swarthmore: McCabe, the book can be found (unsurprisingly) on-campus at McCabe Library. The item's Call Number will tell you where to find the book in the library. (The call number consists of letters and numbers, which organize an item according to its subject and author.)
Call number locations in McCabe Library

A-E call numbers - Lower Level of McCabe (below the main floor)
F-K call numbers - Level 2 (above the main floor)

L-Z call numbers - Level 3

Cornell Science Library and Underhill Music & Dance Library use the same organizational system, and shelves are marked with the range of call numbers that they contain.

Finding books in McCabe: a few exceptions

S McCabe Ref   Books in the Reference section (example) are found on the main level of McCabe.
S McCabe +   Oversize books (example) are shelved separately. They'll be on the same floor as the non-oversize books in their call number range (e.g. you'll find a +G book on the lower level).

S McCabe ++   Double oversize books (example) are all found on the 3rd level of McCabe.


  1. If the book you want is only available from Haverford or Bryn Mawr, click the Request link. After logging in, complete the request process to have the book delivered to you at Swarthmore within 48 hours (usually faster).