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ENG 111 College Writing II

What are Reference Books?

Reference books contain short articles on topics within a subject area: 

  • Written by experts
  • Contain both background and specialized information
  • Suggest related topics
  • Include additional references to consult

Reference books can also contain data such as maps, timelines, and statistics. 

Where do I find Reference Books?

Kalamazoo Valley Libraries have Reference Books in two locations:

Print Reference Collection 
  • Physical books in the Libraries are organized by broad subject categories, for example:
    • American Literature
    • British Literature
    • Folklore
    • Mythology
  • Books remain in library; articles can be photocopied
Electronic Reference Books
  • Many books in Print Reference Collection also have ebook versions
  • Some ebooks are searchable
  • Articles can be saved and/or printed


Where do I find Electronic Reference Books?

You can find Electronic Reference Books in several places from the Library Homepage:

1) Go to the Library Homepage, and look for the ValleyCat search box.  Or, search from the ValleyCat Search box on the bottom of this page.

Conduct a search and limit format to "eBook." Here are some example searches: 

  • "Literary Criticism" AND "Short stories" (On left-hand side of page, check box for "eBook.")
  • "Literary Criticism" AND "American Poetry"
  • "Literary Criticism" AND " Drama"

2) Or, click on Articles and Research Databases (in the left-hand sidebar of our homepage).  

There, you will find Electronic Reference Books and other electronic resources in the following database categories:

Select Literary Criticism E-Reference

How do I find Electronic Books in ValleyCat?


You can search for books of any type (Reference and/or General), by using the ValleyCat catalog search box below. 

Enter Title, Subject, or Author

Topics and Keywords

Think about your topic and brainstorm some keywords that describe your topic. 

For example, perhaps you are researching a short story by Toni Morrison.  Your keywords might be:  short stories, Toni Morrison, African American authors, the name of the story. 

  • Type your keywords into the ValleyCat search box above.  
  • If a concept is more than one word, put the keywords in quotation marks, e.g. "short stories"
  • Using quotation marks will help search for the concept, not separate words
Limiting Your Results

In order to find only electronic books, you need to limit the results of your search.  

On the left-hand side of the screen, under "Format," check the box marked "Ebooks." 

Click on the "View Ebook" button to get access to the ebook:

Print books are also available for checkout.  Either place a hold on a print book in ValleyCat, or give us a call/email and we'll help you find the book you need.