At the Library

During your visit to the library feel free to ask for help from the librarians on duty. We are here to help with your research needs! You will find us at the reference desk or roaming around the stacks. We can give you hands-on instruction on how to search the catalog, or show you effective search strategies for finding authoritative sources on the Internet.

Searching the SFPL Catalog

Instructions for Using the Classic Catalog: Helpful tips on searching the catalog, a glossary of terms, and ways to customize your search.

Conducting a Preferred Search: Preferred Search is a feature that allows you to stay informed about new materials added to the San Francisco Public Library collection. For example, you can select to be notified by e-mail when a new book by your favorite author comes in. A preferred search can be for an author, a subject or even a keyword. A total of 25 preferred searches can be stored to your account.

Banned Book keywords: These terms will help to get you started with your search.
Banned Books       Censorship      Freedom of Speech       1st Amendment
Prohibited materials     Challenged books    History of banned books     Current banned books

More Keyword Search Tips: Learn the answers to questions like What are Boolean operators? What happens if I use an asterisk (*) or a double asterisk? How do I search in proximity (and what does that even mean)?

Searching the Internet

Google: Google is a great tool to get any search started, but remember to use your evaluating skills to determine whether the information provided on a website is authoritative. Here is a link to some strategies to use when searching Google.

Bing: Bing is the new web search engine from Microsoft. Try it out!


Not just a tool for librarians, WorldCat allows you to search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world. WorldCat grows every day thanks to the efforts of librarians and other information professionals.

About WorldCat


mber Banned Books Week!
September 25−October 2, 2010