How to Find Free Textbooks at the Library


Textbooks are expensive, but it’s possible that you may be able to request some of those textbooks through the JKM Library or interlibrary loan for free! Whether it’s sitting on our shelves, waiting in our eBook collection, or calling your name from one of our partner libraries, your textbook might be available for free! What’s even better? You won’t be risking a computer virus that those shady websites (like Z-Library and LibGen) often have attached to their “textbook” offerings.

Below are your options for finding free textbooks and course materials through the JKM Library in order of how we, your librarians, recommend you attempt them in.

Option 1. Search the JKM Library Catalog to see if we have the book you need. If you find it, place a hold, and we’ll email you when it’s ready for you to pickup! Or come to the library and ask a librarian to help you find it on the shelves.

Option 2. We have over 1 million eBooks! You can search them for the titles you need by using the eBooks tab on our homepage. Most eBooks will require you read them in the browser window, so if you would prefer to have a physical book, try…

Option 3. Search EZBorrow to find books from other libraries. The books usually arrive in 2-5 business days, and you have 14 days to pick them up at the JKM Library. You can keep these books for the entire semester. EZBorrow works great for textbooks and fun reading!

Option 4. E-ZBorrow doesn’t have the book? Try ILLiad. ILLiad takes longer (9 days on average), and the library that sends the book decides how long you can keep it and whether it can be renewed. Loan times can be as short as two weeks, although a month or two is more common. If you are unfamiliar with

BONUS: Do you have your Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh library card yet? The CLP system us large and has many options available to its users. Students are eligible for library cards with their student ID. The closest CLP branches to Chatham University’s Shadyside and Eastside locations are Squirrel Hill (5801 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15217) and East Liberty (130 S. Whitfield Street Pittsburgh PA 15206). Learn more about CLP locations here.

For student up at Eden Hall, the Northern Tier Library (4015 Dickey Rd. Gibsonia PA 15044) is a wonderful public library close to campus that offers many services to Chatham students.

We hope these options are helpful in your search for free or affordable textbooks during your time here at Chatham. If you ever have a question about how to use interlibrary loan services or locating books in our collection, please ask a librarian! You can ask in person at the library, or email the librarians at

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