FAQ - Library


What if I want something CWI Library doesn't have?

Request it! We will either purchase it or get it for you from another library! CWI borrows through the OCLC WorldCat Resource Sharing database provided by LiLI Unlimited, an Idaho State Library program, in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • CWI follows the Interlibrary loan Code for the U.S. and the Idaho Interlibrary Sharing Guidelines
  • CWI Library does not borrow items already owned by the Library.
  • Patrons must show a current CWI ID or Community Borrower card.
  • There are no loan fees charged to students, faculty and staff unless dictated by the lending library.
  • Patrons are responsible for any fines resulting from the loss of, damage to, or late return of the item while in their possession. These charges will be decided by the lending library.
  • Interlibrary loan items may be renewed only if allowed by the lending library.
  • Loan periods are determined by the lending library.
  • We follow any use restrictions placed by lending library, i.e. library use only, etc.
  • All requests for articles must comply with U.S. Copyright Law.
Does the library offer classes?

Library staff offer in-person instruction sessions and tours upon request for any course at any CWI location. Courses not able to host a librarian in person or preferring online instruction may request an online webinar session or targeted instruction video for students. In addition the Library offers focused web-based research guides for any course or program at the College.

Faculty wishing to set up instruction for their course should fill out our online library instruction session request form.

When is the library open?

For a current schedule of library hours, view our online calendar. Regular hours are as follows:

Fall and Spring Semesters

  • Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Closed Sundays

Summer Sessions, Intersessions, & Breaks

  • Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Closed Saturdays & Sundays

Exceptions to Regular Hours

  • The Library will be closed on any days that CWI offices are closed, including national holidays. Notices of any other variations in library hours will be posted on the library doors and on our online calendar.
Can I request a book that is checked out?

Holds may be placed on books that are currently not available. Books may only be renewed once if a hold has been placed on it. Holds can be placed in person, by phone (208-562-3115), via email, or online by using the CWI Library catalog. Holds placed via email should be sent to and should include the following information:

  • Patron's full name
  • CWI ID number
  • Contact information where patron can be reached when item is ready
  • Title and author of the item to be placed on hold

Holds may be placed on videos or items in the Reserve Collection by faculty or staff of the college, or a student when needed for a class presentation.

How can I get help with library research?

The library offers support and assistance through a variety of platforms. Our combined circulation and reference desk is open during all library hours to provide students with assistance in person and via phone and email. In addition, library staff monitor a 24/7 chat.

Contact us now!

Where can I study with a group?

The CWI Library does not currently have any group study rooms available; however groups are welcome in the library and in the atrium outside the library.

Can I have food or drink in the library?

Yes, food and drinks are welcome in the Library.

Does the library charge fines if my book is late?

The Library does not charge fines for late items. However, when materials are overdue the Library follows this procedure:

  • When the item is three business days overdue, the first of a series of three automated overdue notices will be emailed to the patron’s email account.
  • When the item is one month overdue, a billing notice will be emailed indicating (where applicable) that the patron’s grades will be held until the item is returned or paid for.
  • When the item is forty-one business days overdue it is assumed to be lost and a bill for the replacement cost of each lost item plus a $25 processing fee per item will be sent to the patron. In addition, the patron’s library privileges will be suspended.
  • If the item is not returned nor the fee paid, a letter of intent will be mailed to the patron informing them that their account will be turned over to a collection agency if the item is not returned by a specified date (usually two weeks).
  • After the deadline has passed, the patron’s account will be turned over to Action Collection Services. At this point the patron’s original fines will be increased by 33% and their library account and CWI Student Account (where applicable) will remain frozen until materials are returned and/or all fees are paid in full.
What should I know before I donate materials to the library?

The College of Western Idaho Library appreciates donations of materials that support teaching and learning at CWI. The Library makes purchases and adds donated materials to its collection based on its Collection Development Policy. Donations may be dropped off at any time with the understanding that the Library does not guarantee that donated items will be added to the collection. Individuals donating large amounts of material are requested to make arrangements in advance by contacting the Library.

Donated books and other materials that fit collection development criteria are integrated into the general collection. Gifts that do not meet collection development criteria may, at the discretion of the Library, be offered to other libraries, agencies, CWI students, faculty and staff; or discarded.

We will, upon request, provide an official acknowledgement of the gift stating the quantity of items received. The Library regrets that we are not able to provide an official evaluation of gifts; this is the responsibility of the donor in consultation with a tax adviser.

What does the library do with outdated materials?

CWI Library follows these practices for discarding deselected materials:

Books that no longer hold value for the Library will be discarded with the intention of resale for profit. Items will be submitted to two different book recycling programs for resale, in this order: (i) Better World Books and (ii) Powells Books.

If not accepted by either program, the deselected materials may be offered to other libraries or set out in a public space for free.

  • The deselected materials will be placed on a cart or in a box near the book return at the entrance to the library for a one-week period.
  • At the end of one week, any remaining materials will be recycled or disposed of.
Does the library ever get rid of things?

Weeding, the permanent removal of materials from the library’s holdings, is an important part of the overall collection development process. Building a viable collection of materials to serve the college community is a dynamic process that includes regular assessment and removal of materials that are obsolete, damaged beyond repair, or no longer relevant to the curriculum.

Library staff will review the library collection at least every 5 years to identify materials that no longer contribute to the collection. In addition, faculty members are encouraged to review library holdings in their subject areas to identify items which should be withdrawn and bring such materials to the attention of the Director of Library Services.

Guidelines for Deselection

The following categories of materials will be considered for weeding from the collection.

  • Poorly circulated materials
  • Outdated materials
  • Superseded editions
  • Excessively worn or damaged materials (Items in poor condition, but still valuable in terms of intellectual content, will be considered for repair or replacement.)
  • Multiple copies of monographs which are no longer needed to support the curriculum
  • Whenever possible, monographs initially chosen for discard will be checked against standard bibliographies (e.g., Books for College Libraries) before being discarded.
How many computers are in the library?

We currently have 16 computers for students to use in the library.

Does the library have a wheelchair-accessible computer?

Yes, CWI Library has one electric lift wheelchair-accessible computer station. There is a switch in the front of the station that students can use to raise the table as needed. Students in wheelchairs always have priority on the use of electric lift station, though others are welcome to use the station at other times.

Who can use library computers?

Current CWI students have first priority on using computers in the Library. All current CWI students are assigned a username and password at the beginning of each semester which they can use to log in. Library computers may be accessed using this default login. 

Visitors at least eighteen years old, or accompanied by a parent/guardian, may use the computers by requesting a login from Library staff. When all computers are in use visitors will be asked to yield the computer to a CWI student, faculty, or staff member.

All computer resources are the property of the College of Western Idaho. All computer users must abide by rules set forth in the CWI Computer Use Policy. 

How does the library decide what to buy?

Library purchases are guided by our Collection Development Policy, as follows.


The purpose of CWI Library’s Collection Development Policy is to describe the types and characteristics of materials that we collect and to which we provide access for the college community, both to guide library staff in making selection and deselection decisions, and to provide a transparent environment for students, faculty, and staff at CWI.

General Selection Criteria

The library purchases and maintains access to resources based on the following selection criteria:

  • Relevance to the curriculum
  • Contribution to breadth or depth of the collection
  • Favorable selection review in relevant review media
  • Patron needs, including requirements of special populations
  • Faculty and student recommendations
  • Value, cost, and quality
  • Timeliness of information
  • Depth of coverage and adequacy of scope
  • Authoritativeness and accuracy
  • Appropriateness of format
  • Physical space requirements
  • Maintenance costs
  • Usage

Additional Selection Criteria by Format

1.    Books: The major emphasis is on acquiring recent titles, although important retrospective titles will be acquired when appropriate for the collection. The Library will attempt to obtain the most authoritative edition of a title that is available. Hardbound books are preferred for their greater durability; however paperbacks may be purchased where the cost differential is substantial. Electronic book formats are increasingly preferred over print, particularly for titles whose courses are fully online or geographically distributed.

2.    Paperbacks:  Paperbacks may be purchased for topics that change rapidly, for books that are frequently updated and replaced, when duplicate copies of a particular book are needed, when demand is expected to be short-lived, when a hardcover is unavailable, or when the cost difference is substantial and the book is not expected to have heavy use.

3.    Periodicals:  Online subscriptions to periodicals, including newspapers, magazines, and academic journals, are preferred. A limited number of periodicals are subscribed to in print. Magazines are retained in print for at least one year; newspapers are retained in print for at least one month.

4.    Atlases, Maps and Globes:  Atlases and maps will be collected selectively to support general reference and research needs. Outdated maps will be retained only if they are of political or historic value.

5.    Videos:  The Library purchases videos in the most current formats available. DVDs are preferred for physical items, though streaming online videos are preferred where copyright allows.

6.    Audio:  The Library purchases music and spoken word audio in the most current formats available. CDs are preferred for physical items, though streaming/downloadable online audio is preferred where copyright allows.  Unabridged editions are preferred for audiobooks.

7.    Online databases:  The following criteria considered in database selection, in addition to the General Criteria:   

  • Usability and ease of access
  • Licensing requirements
  • Extent of coverage and overlap of coverage with other databases subscribed to by the library
  • Data capture ability (print, email, download)
  • Availability and adequacy of documentation
  • Importance of the resource to the academic discipline(s)
  • Comprehensiveness, durability, and accuracy of the database
  • Currency of the information and update schedules
  • Accessibility of the resource under present copyright laws and licensing agreements
  • Availability of usage statistics from the vendor
  • Ability to provide off-campus access through IP recognition