Answered By: Darcy Gervasio
Last Updated: Oct 15, 2018     Views: 1

The Library has books in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hausa, Italian, and Spanish. You can browse literature written in these languages by going to specific call number ranges in the Main Stacks on the Lower Level of the Library. For example, most romance language language literature (novels and poetry) are located iin the PQ section. For a list of call number ranges to browse, see the table on the Languages and Linguistics guide.

Because of how the Library of Congress call number system works, you may find foreign-language books on the shelf next to the same book translated into English.

The best way to find a specific foreign-language book is to look up the title or author in the library catalog (the Books & Media search box on the library's website). We recommend trying both the original title and its English translation. 

To find a list online of all the books in a foreign language in the Library's collection, please do the following:

  1. Go to the Local Catalog
  2. Click "Advanced Search"
  3. Leave the search boxes blank 
  4. Under "Language" choose the language you desire
  5. Under Format choose "Books" (this eliminates CDs and DVDs from your results)
  6. Click "Go" 

That this search is very general. If you do not add additional keywords, you will see art books, music books, cinema studies books, well as textbooks and grammar books for language classes. You will know it's a novel/literature if the call number starts with P. 

Pro Tip: Adding a keyword can help. In the example below, using the word for "novel" in French ("roman") will help eliminate most non-literature results. Keep in mind, this will not show you every French novel in our collection--only those who have the word "roman" in their title-- but this could be a good way to browse if you're not looking for something specific. The same technique can work with words for "novel" or "poetry" in other languages.

Finally, when viewing a catalog record, to tell if a work is in English or in a foreign language, look for the "language note" field to see what language the text is in. If you see any additional authors or the terms "translation, translated, or trans." anywhere in the record, that means it is an English translation. 

screenshot of local catalog showing "roman" as a search keyword and selections for  Language: French and Format: Books. annotation reads:  for ALL french literature leave search box empty. For a specific book, search by the title or author."

Related Topics

    Contact Us


     

     


    You can also use this form to submit a chat question. Try that if you're waiting too long.

    This service is staffed by librarians from New York State, as well as other parts of the country. You will not necessarily be chatting with a librarian from Purchase College.