Palomar College Library
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Frequently Asked Questions about the Library

Click on each question for an answer to appear:

How long can books be checked out?

Circulation Rules

How do I get a Library card?

If you are a Palomar College student or employee, you do not need a library card to check out materials.  You can check out materials with a government issued photo ID and your eServices number. Students from CSU San Marcos or Mira Costa College may also check out materials with a valid student identification from either of these schools. See Library Borrowing Privileges for details. All other persons who are 18 years old or older may register with the Library as a "Community Patron" to borrow materials. A valid picture ID and proof of current mailing address is required.  Please contact the Library Circulation Desk for further information at (760) 744-1150 x2614.

Are there computers for students to use in the Library?

Internet -accessible computers are available on the 2nd floor of the Library, and may be used for searching the Internet and typing papers.

Computers in the Academic Technology Lab on the 1st floor of the Library building have word processing and other programs on them for you to type a paper or do other computer tasks.  Other computer labs on campus also provide access.  Patrons with their own laptop computers may make a wireless Internet connection from within the Library Building.

What are "Stacks?"

"Stacks" refers to the area of the 3rd Floor of the Library where books that can be checked out are located. For a description of other locations or materials in the Library, take our Virtual Library Tour.

Help! I have to write a research paper. Where do I start?

Palomar College Library has many resources and services to help you write your term papers and reports. Visit or call the Library Reference Desk any time the Library is open or email us with a specific question for assistance from one of our Reference Librarians.

You may also find valuable assistance on your own from one of the Library's many online resources:

1. Library Research Guides (including ideas for research topics) are available at
2. To find books in the Library, search the online catalog. Go to the Library home page and click the "Catalog" button. NOTE: you will need to actually come into the Library to pick up the book(s) once you identify them.
3. To find journals, magazines, or newspaper articles, search one of several online databases that the Palomar College Library subscribes to. To access, go to the Library home page, and click the "Databases/Articles" button. NOTE: You may use all the databases from any computer on campus. To search from home you will need to be a current Palomar student, faculty, or staff member and use your e-services login and password to access the databases.  
4. To find other web documents go to the Library's Research by Subject Index.

Is there a copy of my textbook in the Library?

The Library does not keep copies of all the textbooks - we generally purchase other books which supplement the textbooks assigned in class. This is because (1) they go out of date or change editions so frequently that it is not cost-effective to purchase them (the Library does NOT get free copies of textbooks - we have to purchase them just like you); and (2) we do not have the space to shelve all the books.

However, in some cases, there may be a copy of your textbook in the Library general collection (or at least an older edition that you could use). Also, many instructors put their own extra copies of textbooks on reserve in the Library for you to use. To see if a textbook is in the Library, search the online library catalog. You can look the book up by author name or title, or click the "Reserve Desk" button at the top of the catalog search screen and look it up by your instructor name, course number, or course name.

Can I access Databases from off campus?

Current Palomar College students, faculty, and staff can access online research databases from off-campus.  Users must click on any database link and at the login screen, type:

  • Students: student ID# and password (same as student eServices login)
  • Faculty and Staff: network user name and password (same as email login)

Can non-students check out books from the Library?

Yes. Click here for details.

My Instructor told me she put a book on reserve in the Library. Where do I find the Course Reserves?

Instructor Reserves are course materials (books, articles, videos, etc.) set aside by instructors for reserved student use. Reserves are shelved by course title and kept behind the Circulation Desk (San Marcos campus). Reserves at the Escondido Center Library may be found at the public services desk. Check the Library Catalog for the specific location. Legal Program Reserve is located on the third floor at the end of the general collection at San Marcos.

When is the Library open?

Click here for Library hours for the San Marcos Campus and the Escondido Campus Center.

Can I access other library catalogs at Palomar College?

Yes. Many libraries have online catalogs which can be accessed via the Internet. For links to San Diego area, national, and foreign libraries see

How do I print from computers in the Library?

Printing is available from computers in the Library Reference area on the 2nd Floor at San Marcos, or in the Escondido Center Library. Charges are 10 cents per page for black & white printouts, and payment is with cash or by using an existing GoPrint account. Color printouts are also available at both locations for 30 cents per page.

Are there rooms available for group study?

Group study rooms are located on the 3rd floor of the Library. Study rooms are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Do you have photocopiers? What forms of payment can I make for copies?

Yes.  At the San Marcos Library, photocopiers are located near the main Circulation Desk and the Reference Desk on the 2nd floor. Black & white copies are 10 cents/page, color copies are 50 cents/page. Payments are with cash only. Escondido Center Library - black & white copies are 10 cents/page, color copies are 50 cents/page. Payments are with cash only.

Microfilm copiers: Attached to the microfilm readers in the Library Reference area; copies are 10 cents/page and the reader/printers accept only dimes.

Does the library accept donations?

Can I check out periodicals (magazines, newspapers, or journals)?

Periodicals do not circulate. You may, however, photocopy any article you need.

Can I return books when the Library is closed?

Yes, there are book return boxes outside both the San Marcos and Escondido libraries. Click here for locations.

Who was Ernest J. Allen and why is the Escondido Educational Center Library named after him?

Ernest J. Allen was a local dairy man known for his generosity. Upon his death in 1996, his estate provided the funding for the establishment of Palomar College's first branch library in the Escondido Educational Center.

As a student at Palomar College, is there anything I can do to improve the Library Collection?

Yes, we welcome all suggestions for titles that would improve our collection. Please submit requests to the Library Reference Desk.

Can I borrow videos from the Library and does it cost anything?

Yes, most videos in the Library may be checked out. The circulation periods vary. See Library Circulation Policies for details. There is no charge for checking out the videos.

Where do I pay any Library fines?

You may pay your Palomar College Library fines at either the 2nd Floor Main Circulation Desk at the San Marcos Campus or Escondido Center Library public services desk. You may pay with cash or check. The Library does not accept credit cards.

Can I borrow books from CSUSM or Mira Costa College Libraries?

Yes-if you are a registered Palomar College student or faculty member, you may borrow books from either CSUSM or Mira Costa College Libraries. See Borrowing Privileges for details.

Need more information?  Check our Services and Resources fact sheet.

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 Last Updated 08/20/14