FAQ - Library


How can I get a student (work-study) job in the library?

CWI students may apply for a Work-Study job in the library throughout the year, when a position is posted. Candidates who are service-oriented, self-motivated, and enthusiastic about library services are encouraged to apply after they have received federal/state award notification. Library Aides assist in the day-to-day operations of the library and locate materials using the online catalog and databases. Responsibilities include: assisting patrons with software and research issues, checking materials in and out, physical processing and shelving of materials, data entry, sign and handout production, simple equipment maintenance, and related duties.

Work-Study employees work approximately 10 hours a week with occasional evening and weekend hours, depending on award amount and class schedule. Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or call 562-3115.

For more information about CWI Work-Study positions visit Work Study and Jobs

How do I log in to library computers?

To log in to library computers, use your CWI login as described at

Username: In most cases, your email address will be your [email protected] (ex. [email protected]). If you provided a preferred first name to Student Services, your email address will be your [email protected] (ex. [email protected]).”

Password: Your default password will be the first letter of your firstname in CAPS (or first letter of your preferred first name if provided to Student Services) + first letter of your last name in CAPS + “logon” in lower-case letters + last 4 digits of your SSN, if you don’t have a SSN, then use the last 4 digits of your student ID number (Ex: Jonathan Smith’s password would be JSlogon1234).

Note: Your initial password for email, Blackboard, and logging onto campus computers are the same, once you change one password the other is not automatically changed.

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
How long can I check things out for?

You can check the following items out for a period from 2 hours to 28 days, as specified below:

Book -- 28 days
Media (DVDs, CDs, etc.) -- 7 days
Magazines & Journals -- 7 days
Mini-Reference Books -- 14 days
Reference Books -- 7 days
Reserves (textbooks, etc.) -- Generally 2 hours (may vary) for use in the library
Headphones -- 2 hours
Renewals: Any non-reserve item may be renewed twice unless a hold has been placed on it. If a hold has been placed on an item, it cannot be renewed.

Limits: There is no limit to how many items a CWI patron may check out. Community Borrower Card holders are limited to 10 items checked out at a time.

How many computers are in the library?

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

Need a password?

Logging in from off-campus? You can now select and set your own password by following these steps:

1. Click on the name of a database.
2. Get the screen below and choose "Set/reset password."

3. Enter your 7-digit CWI ID#.
4. Check your CWI email for login info and set your new password!

If you get an error message please call or email us with your name, phone #, address, & CWI email and we will update your info in our system.
What does the Library Advisory Committee do?

The Director of Library Services consults quarterly (September, December, February, and May) with the Library Advisory Committee, a body made up of students, faculty, and staff.

Committee Charge

To provide feedback and guidance related to CWI Library procedures, resources, and activities in order to ensure that the Library continuously improves to meet the needs of all CWI students, faculty, and staff, and the Idaho community.

Committee Roster (as of Spring 2012)

  • Andrea Ascuena, Faculty, English
  • Karen Brown, Faculty, Art 
  • Amanda Bolan, Student
  • Brandon Durst, Faculty, Political Science
  • Gayla Huskey, Staff, Instructional Support
  • Linda Kaiser, Staff, Virtual Campus
  • Heather Mallary, Student Senator
  • Joy Palmer, Faculty, English
  • Emiko Quintana, Faculty, Faculty Senate Representative
  • Bryan Slater, Staff, IT
  • Alan Virta, Community member
  • Dave Wood, Faculty, Internetworking and Communications Technology
  • Logan Yott, Student Senator
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.
What happens if I leave something in the library?

The library maintains a lost and found where items left behind by patrons may be reclaimed. Items left in the Lost and Found for more than one month may be disposed of.

What if I need a book you don't have?

We can usually get it for you within a week! We might buy it outright or borrow it from another library on your behalf. Either way, just fill out our online request form.

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.
What is the library's mission?

The College of Western Idaho Library supports quality teaching and learning opportunities at the College by providing access to relevant information resources, offering services to enhance student and faculty use of those resources, and advancing information literacy instruction.

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.