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Graduate Library Orientation

Welcome (back, for some!) to the University of Memphis' University Libraries! This Research Guide will assist you in learning what the Libraries have to offer you!

Search Almost Everything

LibKey Nomad

 LibKey Nomad connect you to scholarly articles behind paywalls when they appear on Google Scholar, PubMed, Wikipedia, and many journal publisher websites through the University Libraries. LibKey Nomad works both on and off campus.

LibKey Nomad is available on these browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Edge 
  • Firefox
  • Brave
  • Vivaldi  

Check Out Information

A common question is: how long can I check out books for and what happens if I don't return it on time? Here are the answers if you are a graduate student:

Material Type Period and Amount Amount
Books End of the Semester 50 books
Interlibrary Loan Varies by lending institution No limit
CD/LP (Music Library Media) 10 days 10 items
Video Media 10 days 3 items
Graphic Novels 30 days 3 items

Fines for Reserve and Other Limited Checkout Materials

Overdue fines for CD's accrue at the rate of $.50 per day, to a maximum $15.00 fine. Fines for Overnight, 24 Hour, 3 Day, and 7 Day Reserve items accrue at $1.00 per day, to a maximum $12.00 fine. Fines for 2 Hour Reserve items accrue at a rate of $1.00 per hour or portion of an hour, to a maximum $12.00 fine. Fines for circulating videos and DVD's accrue at $5.00 per day, to a maximum $50.00 fine per item. Recalled Materials Fines for recalled items accrue at $1.00 per day or portion of a day, to a maximum $12.00 fine.


You may renew books from the stacks in person, by phone, or online as long as your material is not overdue. Call the Checkout Desk for renewal options. If material is returned late, fines accrue at $.25 a day for 30 days. After 30 days, there is a $7.50 late fee plus a non-refundable $10.00 processing fee for each item. If the material is not returned, you will be charged the above fees, plus the cost of the material. All material is subject to Recall after 14 days.

  1. Online, via the My Library Account portal. UM faculty, staff, and students enter their username and password on the left-hand side. All other users enter their last name and barcode on the right-hand side. Renew by checking the boxes next to your items pushing the Renew button.
  2. Over the phone by calling (901) 678-2205.  Please make sure you have the books with you when you call. 
  3. In person by bringing the books to the Check-Out Desk.  Please make sure you have your UM ID with you.  
  4. You may send a renewal request to our email address, Please make sure you include the titles and barcodes from the books. 

You may not renew overdue items over the phone or via email. You can bring them in and renew at the Check Out desk, or you can renew them using My Library Account portal by yourself.

If you renew using My Library Account portal and the material is overdue, the fine will be automatically reflected on your library record.

You may renew items via the My Library Account portal twice. You may renew them in person as many times as you’d like as long as there are no recalls or special requests for the item(s).


Materials may be returned to Ned McWherter Library’s Check In Desk or to any one of the branch libraries: Health Sciences Library or Music (Music Building, room 115).  For your convenience, there are 3 book returns/book drops, one in front of McWherter Library, one outside of Brister Hall on Alumni drive and one on Central Avenue in front of the Music Building. To prevent damage or loss, CDs, Videos and DVDs should not be placed in book returns, but returned to the Circulation department or to a branch library.

Getting Started

How to start?

Use your assignment prompt to help choose a good topic and identify the kinds of resources you're going to need. Do you need books? Journal articles? Newspaper articles? All of those can be found in online databases. Most print materials also have an online version available, so they are easy to access and find.

Where to start?

Research is easiest when you know where to start and can find all the resources and tools you need in one place. The University Libraries' homepage is a one-stop shop for finding books, journal articles, newspaper articles, and primary sources. You can set up appointments with a librarian to get help researching and citing in your papers.

What is a database?

Databases are giant, searchable collections of books, eBooks, journal articles, government documents, photographs, movies, songs, and much more! Many of our databases have the full-text version of books and articles readily available.

Databases sometimes focus on one subject or area of study. For example, the database African American Communities has a collection of primary resources surrounding specific African American communities, so searching Japanese manga in that collection wouldn't show you the best results. Try a couple of different databases to find one that best matches what you need. Most databases work using the same searching methods, so once you've used one database, it is easy to figure out how to use other databases.

How do I choose a database?

To narrow down which databases will work best for your topic, you have two quick and easy choices. Choose the Search Databases link on the Libraries' homepage. You can search for the database you want by name, or use the Search Databases by Subject menu to pull up a list of subject areas. Your choice will pull up a list of all the databases that have material related to that field. 

If you're getting stuck, it can help to think outside of the box and try databases in other fields. For example, if you're researching the impact of classroom screen time on kids, you might search both education and psychology databases. And, as always, feel free to ask a UofM librarian for help!

Physical Resources

The University Libraries offers a wide range of physical resources, including books, journals, microforms, graphic novels, DSLR cameras, and laptops. Most of these resources may be checked out and taken out of the building, but some have short check-out periods so they are best used in McWherter Library or on campus. 

Interlibrary Loan

Sometimes U of M may not possess a book or have access to a journal article that you need.  However, we can still get that material using our Interlibrary Loan services. Many times you will see a link in a record in our catalog or in WorldCat that will tie directly to this service and automatically fill out the request form for you!!

You can also place a request via the ILL website. Please be aware that ILL books usually have shorter checkout periods that you normally have as a graduate student and you will be charged overdue fines for them.

Online Resources

The University Libraries offer a wide range of online resources, which can generally be accessed from anywhere: your dorm, your apartment downtown, a coffee shop in Chicago, or a museum in Paris. When accessing these resources off campus, you will probably be asked to login with your myMemphis account information.

Online resources include a wide range of databases and digital repositories that provide access to journals and journal articles, ebooks, mapping and data resources, and many different kinds of recordings and streaming services (including movies, TV shows, music, and theatre productions).

Research Path


Start with Tutorial 1: Develop a Research Topic, and work your way through all six, or explore the tutorial that you're most curious about. Take each tutorial as many times as you need! Created by UofM librarians.