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College Writing

Use this guide to improve your writing skills. Find help for selecting topics, searching for and documenting evidence, writing essays, and more. You may also find this guide helpful for crafting speeches. 

About Books

Reference Books

Reference Books are the best places to find concise summaries and background information on a topic. Reference books cannot be checked out of the library. Some of them are available as databases or ebooks. 

Circulating Books

Circulating books (books you can check out) may also provide summaries and background information, but usually go into greater depth about a topic.

Using Books for Research

Using books for research does not always mean that you need to read the entire book.

  • Use the table of contents and the index to find where in a book information about your topic is located.

  • The introduction to a book may be a good place to find background information on the topic the book is about.
  • You should read enough of a book or chapter to understand what an author is saying and quote her correctly.
  • Sometimes chapters in books are complete works written by different authors, making them ideal for research.

Select Reference Ebooks

Online Reference and Ebooks

Search the Classic Catalog

Search for books using St. Louis Community College's Classic Catalog.


Book series on controversial topics

Each book in these series covers a single broad subject, giving the arguments on different sides of the issues. You can also find statistics and historical background. You might want to use just a single chapter from one of these books. Opposing Viewpoints is also available as a database. To find a list of books in each series, search for the series by title in the  Classic Catalog. The active links below will take you to search results for a selected series title and are useful to browse for a topic of interest.

Other book catalogs

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000