International Students' Guide to the Dudley Knox Library

US Libraries work differently than those in some other countries. This guide explains the basics of how most US libraries work

Open Stacks

The Dudley Knox Library has  "open stacks".  This means you can find books yourself.

Other Monterey Area Libraries

Monterey area residents (including NPS students) can use local libraries.  Public libraries include many resources and services for children. They offer their own services and electronic resources, and have books, CDs and DVDs you can borrow.  Most services are free for Monterey area residents with a library card.  Applying for a card is simple, and free.

Libraries in the United States

There are several different kinds of libraries in the United States.

Colleges and universities have one or more libraries on campus for their students to use. These are Academic Libraries.  At NPS the academic library is Dudley Knox Library.  (Libraries for schoolchildren are called School Libraries, and communities have Public Libraries for the use of local residents. Monterey has all of these.)

Most American libraries have books, magazines, newspapers, movies on DVD or videocassette, and recordings on audiotape or CD, such as music, books or language-learning materials.

Most libraries have computers, for use by library visitors. Many libraries in the United States have clearly stated policies about behavior in the library, including whether food or drink is allowed, whether cell phone use is allowed, and which places should be respected as quiet areas. Smoking is generally not allowed in library buildings.

You can borrow books and other materials with a library card.

Library staff at the Circulation Desk can help you get a library card for Dudley Knox Library.  In addition, in the United States, foreign citizens who are living locally may apply for a library card at local public libraries. (You and your family can get library cards at the local Monterey Public LibrarySalinas or Pacific Grove Libraries and Monterey County Public libraries, as appropriate.

Libraries have a search engine and lists (or databases) that shows which materials they own and have access to.

You can access the search and databases lists from the library's homepage. Use the library search to find a specific book or to search for books on a specific subject.

Most American libraries have "open stacks." This means that library visitors can walk to the shelves of books and get the books they want. Dudley Knox Library has open stacks.  The books at our library are organized by call numbers.

At some libraries, you can borrow books for only two weeks. At other libraries, you may borrow books for longer. Each library is different. You do not have to pay to borrow library books. Most libraries charge a fee if you return a book late. Dates before which library materials must be returned are marked clearly.  At Dudley Knox Library, NPS students may borrow books for three months. Find out more about our borrowing privileges.

At some libraries, you can borrow as many books as you want. Other libraries have limits.  At Dudley Knox Library, the limit is 50 Items for regular NPS students.

In most libraries, there are a few things which may not be borrowed. Some books, like dictionaries and encyclopedias, stay in the library for everyday use. Also, at many libraries, you have to read new magazines and newspapers at the library. Materials that must stay in the library building are called "non-circulating."  Reference books in Dudley Knox Library are non-circulating. (These are marked REF on the back of the book.)

If you have questions, please ask a librarian for help. Don't be shy!