How do I access textbooks online or from the library?


Books on Shelf

Books in the library are available to check out. The stacks are not currently available for browsing, but you can request items and a member of the Circulation staff will retrieve it for you.

We recommend reserving your books online ahead of your visit. Books can be requested through OneSearch using the Request Item option. (See our Onesearch how-to guide for more info on using Onesearch.) You can also place requests for books from other CUNY libraries to be picked up at York. Once you've placed a request, you will receive confirmation when the item is ready for you to pick up. Appointments are not required, but you can schedule your book pickup appointment here for your convenience:


You can find ebooks through several sources:

York Library Ebooks

Type in a specific title or a general subject area in the search bar below to find York Library ebooks:



Open Library

Open Library is a book digitization project of the Internet Archive, which provides access to millions of books. Books in the public domain can be downloaded for free by anyone. Books that are still subject to copyright can be borrowed via controlled digital lending. An account is not needed to search this collection, but you need to create an Open Library account to either read on their Internet Archive book reader or download in epub/pdf formats.

You can also find many of these through York's own OneSearch. When searching for textbooks, you might see a note that something is on the shelf and available online -- and then when you click for the online version, you see this:

Internet archive available for preview and borrowing

This means the book is temporarily available to you for free online, as long as York Library is physically inaccessible.  You will need to sign up for an Open Library account to borrow e-books this way.

York access URL:
Access:  Freely available to the public
Subjects:  Open access


The VitalSource and RedShelf program to provide free access to textbooks online has ended as of May 25, 2020. Students who previously created accounts may still access their accounts, but the textbooks are not guaranteed to remain available. We will update if these programs resume.


  • Last Updated Feb 01, 2022
  • Views 295
  • Answered By Joshua Peach

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