Skip to Main Content
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

"How To" Guide to the SDZWA Library's Collections & Services: Books & DVDs

How to Find and Borrow Library Materials

This page explains how to find and request library materials and check out, renew, and return them.

We can also borrow items from other libraries through interlibrary loan (ILL).

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions!

Find and Request Library Materials

Search the Library Catalog


Online Catalog. Our catalog is your gateway to the SDZWA Library's books, videos, reports, dissertations, proceedings, etc. It is searchable by Key Word, Title, Author, or Subject. You can also get there by clicking the Browse Catalog button on our home page.

Search on a topic. Subject terms are assigned to all our books by the librarians. They cover major topics, taxonomic divisions, and geographic locations. Go to the Catalog, enter one or more terms from our Subject Terms List in the search box, select Subject in the box on the left, then run the search. Just a heads-up: you must use only the UPPERCASE terms on this list -- if you can't find what you want, try the closest alternative or search by All Words instead.

Find DVDs. Go to the Catalog, type DVD in the search box, and run an "All Words" search (default). To focus your search, add other terms to the search box (e.g., DVD elephants conservation). The results will show all materials on DVD, including documentaries and recorded seminars (see below).

Find seminar recordings. The Library circulates recordings of presentations given during a summer seminar series. Go to the Catalog, type ICR SEMINAR SERIES in the search box, and run an "All Words" search (default). To focus your search, add other terms to the search box (e.g., ICR SEMINAR SERIES condors).

Browse the Stacks


The Library is in the Beckman Center, next to the Safari Park. SDZWA staff and volunteers are welcome to visit. We are typically open M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, but please call if making a special trip. We'd hate to miss you! A current employee or volunteer ID is required to enter the Beckman Center. The Library is not open to the general public.

Books are arranged by call number, according to main topic. Are you looking for a specific item? We'll show you how to find its call number in the catalog, then locate it in the stacks or DVD rack. Would you like to see what's available on a general topic? We can direct you to the right section of the stacks.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)


Can't find what you want in our catalog? We may be able to borrow it for you from another library, via interlibrary loan.

Check Out, Renew, Return

Who May Borrow


SDZWA staff. All staff are welcome to borrow circulating library materials and use our services.

SDZWA volunteers. Approved volunteers may borrow library materials on a supervisor's account. We can help you contact a volunteer supervisor for approval -- just send us an email and we'll get you started.

Not staff or volunteer? Unfortunately, we are a small private library and are unable to provide public access to our collections. We occasionally make an exception for an academic researcher or an individual affiliated with an AZA- or WAZA-accredited zoo. If this describes you, please email a request with a summary of your affiliation and research interests.

How to Create a Library Account (Staff)


Please submit a request by email or phone (x5736), or visit us at the Library. We'll need the following:

  • Employee ID number
  • Location and department
  • Supervisor
  • Email address (@sdzwa for staff, personal for volunteers)

How to Check Out & Return Books


By phone, email, and inter-office mail. To check out or renew, please submit a request by email or call us (760-747-8702 x5736), and provide call number, author, and title. We're happy to send library materials to you via interoffice mail, and you can return them in the same way to Library - Beckman Center. Interoffice mail can be dropped off at Park Ranger Base, Warner Building / Zoo offices, or your usual internal mailbox. If you received your book in one of the Library's blue canvas bags, be sure to return it in that bag; otherwise, a regular interoffice envelope will do. You are also welcome to drop books off at the next Pop-Up Library event in the Zoo or Park.

At the Library. Check out, renew, and return books at the Library (Beckman Center, 2nd floor), M-F 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM. If you don't have a library account (see above), we'll help you set one up.


Checkout and Renewal Policies


Checkouts. Items in our circulating collection may be checked out for 4 weeks. There is no limit on the number of items that one person can check out.

Renewals. You may renew for another 4 weeks for up to a year, provided no one else has requested the item.

Alternate Catalogs

To check out a book from another library, please see our Interlibrary Loan Instructions.

Book Locators

SDZWA Library Links

SDZWA Research Guides