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Browse and search FAQs

  • To find books, videos, and other Library materials in languages other than English, search the Library catalogue for the item(s) you want (by keyword, author, title, etc.), and limit your search by language.

    The SFU Library also has some specific collections of materials in languages other than English. For example, you can find a collection of materials donated by the State Education Commission of the People's Republic of China by searching by keyword or title (in Browse search) for "Chinese collection."

    For more help finding materials in a specific language Ask a Librarian.

  • The Library Catalogue is the tool you use to find books, journals, newspapers, government documents, videos, slides and sheet maps in the Library's collection.

    For tips and tricks on how to use the Catalogue, see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.

  • To find journals about specific topics, you can search the Library Catalogue for your keywords or subject, then limit to Journals under the heading Resource Type. 

    For example:  teaching business, special needs education, Canadian literature


    Looking for articles? See How to find journal articles.


  • The Library hires library assistants (including student assistants), librarians, and other professional staff.

    For further information see Librarian and other library position openings.

  • Current SFU students, faculty, and staff

    SFU student card

    FIC student card

    See Getting your Card for how and where to get your SFU ID.

    Where do I pick up my SFU ID?

    Visit the Registrar and Information Services office on any SFU campus to have your photo taken and your card printed, 24 hours after you have enrolled in your classes.

    Distance education students: Follow the instructions for getting a library barcode or contact Telebook services to get a barcode number so that you can use the library's direct request services.

    Alumni, external borrowers, and some research assistants

    Alumni: You do not need to get a different library/university card when you graduate, so hold onto your present card. Your library privileges will expire two weeks into the next semester. Your alumni library privileges will come into effect when Senate awards your degree/diploma. If you need library privileges before you are awarded your alumnus status, come to the Circulation/Loans desk at the Library for interim privileges.Alumni who no longer have their card can go to the Registrar's Office at any campus and purchase a new University/Library card.

    External Borrower Cards can be purchased at the Circulation/Loans desk at Bennett, Belzberg or Surrey Libraries. For rates and other useful information, please see Services for External Borrowers.

    Research assistants who are paid directly by the professor (and not on the university payroll) may apply for a free External Borrower Card at any campus. An application form can be obtained from the Circulation/Loans desk. This form must be countersigned by the Professor, and should then be presented to the Circulation/Loans desk. Cards will be issued in the name of the assistant c/o the Professor and will carry the same borrowing privileges as the Professor.

    New faculty not yet on payroll

    New faculty are eligible for a library card up to 3 months in advance of their appointment. If you cannot yet get a regular card, please visit the loans counter at any SFU Library branch. Library staff will issue you a temporary card upon written proof confirming your status (e.g. letter of appointment from Faculty/Dept., Departmental memo).

    Your temporary library card will provide you with the full range of faculty borrowing privileges,

  • Closed Storage is an area of the W.A.C. Bennett Library (SFU Burnaby) that is only accessible by library staff.

    To request that a specific item located in closed storage be retrieved for you, look up the item in the Library catalogue, and use the Request function as you would for a book on loan or at another campus (see Request instructions). Items requested online, Monday to Thursday, will be available from the Circulation/Loans desk on the next day, after 4 pm. Items requested Friday, Saturday or Sunday will be available on Monday of the following week after 4 pm.

    Requests can also be made in person at the Circulation/Loans desk and are usually available the same day. Closed storage runs for in-person requests are made at the following times:

    • Monday - Thursday 9am, 1pm, 4pm, 8pm
    • Friday - 9am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm (the library closes at 10pm)
    • Saturday - Sunday 11am, 3pm, 7pm

    You can also Request these items for delivery to our other campus libraries. Allow two working days after your request for the item to arrive at Belzberg Library (SFU Vancouver) or Fraser Library (SFU Surrey). 

    For further assistance, contact Bennett Loans staff at 778.782.4345, by email, or in person.

  • Articles in journals not at SFU Library may be directly requested through many of our databases by clicking on "Get@SFU" or you may fill in an Interlibrary Loan request.

  • Browse ebook collections

    SFU has access to many collections of ebooks from a variety of publishers and providers.

    Search ebook collections: Library catalogue

    The SFU Library Catalogue lists all books, journals, etc. owned by the Library, including ebooks.

    To search only for materials you can read online, you can:

    • conduct a Basic search, and then use the filters on the search results screen to Refine results: select Full text online
      • To limit further to ebooks, select Books under Resource Type. 
    • conduct an Advanced search, and select Books as the Material Type.
      • ​Use the filters on the left side of the search results screen to Refine results: select Full text online. 

    To search in a particular ebook provider's collection, add it as a keyword using AND. Example: paleolithic AND "Cambridge Books Online"

    For more help searching the Library Catalogue, see the Library Catalogue Search Guide, or contact if you require further assistance.

    Instructors: Using ebooks for a class?

    Please view the Electronic collection information for librarians and faculty web page to determine whether an item is suitable for reserves or for use as a textbook.

  • You ask. If your use is not permitted by a license, or one of the exceptions in the Copyright Act, you will need to ask for permission. The permission must come from the copyright owner so the first step is to identify who the copyright owner is and whether there is an organization that represents the owner. There are a number of copyright collectives which can give you permission (in the form of a license) on behalf of the copyright owner to use their work. So, for example, if you want to use music and your use does not fall within any of the Copyright Act’s exceptions, you may be able to obtain permission from copyright collectives such as SOCAN, Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) or Re:Sound that administer copyright in music. 

    But if the copyright owner is easily identifiable and locatable, it can sometimes be easier to contact them directly as many copyright owners will give permission to academic users without requiring payment. Usually you will be able to identify the owner somewhere on the work by looking for the copyright symbol ©, which should have the copyright owner’s name next to it. You will often find this at the beginning of a book, at the side of a photograph or at the bottom of a webpage. Once you’ve located the owner, simply email or write to him/her, explaining how and why you want to use the work and requesting permission. The permission should be in writing, though an email will suffice. It is not advisable to rely on verbal permission because there is no documentary evidence to prove what was agreed to between you and the copyright owner. You should also keep a record of who gave the permission, what was permitted, the date, and how to contact the person who gave the permission. Leave plenty of time for this process, since you can't control how quickly the copyright owner might respond.

    Remember that copyright owners have the right to say no, charge a fee or impose conditions on the use of their work.

    Feel free to contact the Copyright Office ( with any questions you might have about obtaining copyright permissions.

  • You have two options for getting SFU Library Catalogue records into EndNote:

    1. Search the SFU Library's Catalogue from within EndNote using a Connection file. See the instructions "How do I use EndNote 3.0 or higher to connect to SFU Library databases and the Library Catalogue".


    2. While in the SFU Library Catalogue, click on the "Endnote" icon to transfer Catalogue records to Endnote.