San Francisco Public Library's new books

Library Lifehacks

Pictured: the "coming soon" and "new books" of the San Francisco Public Library.

One of the best things about Libraries, and the CCA Libraries in particular, is how much awesome stuff they provide free access to. But one of the toughest things can be finding and using these wonderful, free things! We want to share a few tips and tricks for using our services that you might not know about.

Quickly grab citations for your papers

Look, we know that formatting citations for your papers is neither fun nor easy. While we have a great guide to citing your sources, it still can be tedious to write out all the different pieces of each citation. Here's a tip: do your research in the CCA Libraries' search engine and use the "Cite this item" feature. It's in the upper right corner of each search result and looks like a quotation mark:

CCA Libraries' search "cite this item" feature

First click the quotation mark, then select your citation style from the list of options.

You can then copy/paste the citation text into your paper. This tool should let you cite anything you can find with all the major citation styles that your instructors want you to use. One note of caution: you should double-check the results and think of them more as a guide than the final word, because sometimes pieces of information can be missing or wrong. But even if you need to edit a little bit, it can save you a ton of time!

Use your local public libraries!

CCA's library has a lot of materials (over 90,000 volumes!), but we don't have everything. Did you know that Oakland Public Library has 1.2 million volumes? Or that San Francisco's Public Library has 3.7 million volumes?!? And that's not all, just as CCA has dozens of excellent web resources for you to use, from Kanopy streaming videos to JSTOR academic articles, both of these public libraries have massive collections of online resources. All of these are available for your use, no matter which local city you live in. You just have to be a resident of the state of California, citizenship is not required.

Oakland Public Library digital collections poster

Create reading lists in the library catalog

This is a personal favorite of the librarians at CCA: our catalog lets you save lists of books so you can keep track of what you want to read or share a grouping of related titles with someone. Simply select "Save to your lists", sign in with your CCA account, and then you can create a new list or add an item to an existing one.

How might you use this? You can create a "to read" list of books. Check them out whenever you have some spare time! Or create lists on a particular topic, whether it's a research project or personal interest. Instructors, try creating a list of books for your students! You can then use the share button on the lists page to email them to anyone.

Finally, we have already created several lists of related materials, often as part of an exhibit or other event going on at CCA. Here are a few examples: