Google Books recently added "Find this book in a library" links on many books in the company's huge database. This should be a big help to genealogists looking for a book on a family surname, a book on local history, or one of many other books. Google Book Search helps readers locate nearby libraries where they can borrow titles of interest. These links direct you to OCLC's Open WorldCat, the online computer library catalog that lists the contents of libraries around the world..
I tried this with a book on my family name. I went to http://books.google.com and entered:
About a second later, a list of books about the family appeared. The first book on the list is the biggest and most detailed book on the family I have ever found. I clicked on that listing, and the scanned image of the book's title page soon appeared. If out of copyright, the entire book often can be downloaded and saved to the local hard drive. However, for books still in copyright or for something that has not yet been scanned, the best thing to do is to click on the new "Find this book in a library."
I tried that link and soon was prompted to enter my location information: postal code, state, province or country. I simply entered my ZIP code, nothing else. I then clicked on GO.
The next page that appeared displayed 42 local libraries that have a copy of the book I wanted, arranged by distance from my location. The first listing displayed a link for a library that is only 15 miles from where I live. I clicked on that link and soon was looking at detailed information, including the room in the library where the book is shelved and the call number. All I need to do now is jump in the car, drive 15 miles, walk into that library, find that room and then find the book on the shelves in the designated spot.
This is an excellent use of technology: information at your fingertips, 24 hours a day.
If you are looking for a hard-to-find book, even one that is still in copyright, always try Google Books at http://books.google.com. You can search by family name, location, topics, and much, much more. Who knows? That had-to-find book you have been looking for may be available in an unexpected place not far from where you live.