Getting Started

Welcome to the Cardinal Stritch University Library! This brief introduction is an overview of the resources and services the Library offers. Use the red links below to get detailed information about the resources mentioned in the video.

Available Resources

Library Collections

The Library's collections consist of physical and electronic materials. The Library's physical spaces and collections are outlined on the Library Spaces page. This page also indicates their individual locations in the library building.

The library's catalog, TOPCAT (The Online Public Catalog), is the tool primarily used for searching the library's physical collections, though it may also contain some electronic resources.

The Library's collection of electonic resources consists of research databases, ebooks, and the Stritch Shares digital repository. These resources can be accessed from on and off-campus. However, you must be a current member of the Stritch community (student, faculty, staff) in order to access subscription resources from off-campus.


The term "database" as used in an academic library setting generally refers to a searchable catalog (or index) of content taken from journals, magazines, and newspapers. Often, a database consists of subject-specific content, i.e. a nursing database.

When searching a database, the user is searching the content of the thousands of publications included in that database. In most cases, the complete text (known as "full-text") of the found content can be immediately read online or downloaded for external storage.

The Databases page provides access to all of the Library's databases. The databases are listed alphabetically by database name, and are also grouped by subject. The descriptions provide an idea of the type of content contained in each resource.

You can learn more about using databases by viewing the Introduction to Databases video.


An ebook is an electronic version of a book which can be read online. The Library has two ebook collections. Both collections can be read online through your browser; no special tools or downloads are required to use the basic functions of these resources.


The Library offers headphones and calculators which students may checkout. Learn more.

Study Rooms

Five study rooms are available for checkout on a first-come, first-serve basis. Learn more.

SWITCH Library Consortium

The Cardinal Stritch University Library is a member of the SWITCH (Southeastern Wisconsin Information and Technology Exchange) Library Consortium; a group of private academic libraries which share resources via TOPCAT (The Online Public Catalog).

As a member of the Stritch community, you have access to the collections of the each of the SWITCH libraries. Due to vendor restrictions, access to electronic resources such as databases cannot be shared.  Using TOPCAT, users can request materials and have them sent to any library within the SWITCH consortium for pickup. Distance learning students can have items shipped to their home. See Borrowing for more information.


The SWITCH member libraries are:
  • Alverno College
  • Cardinal Stritch University
  • Concordia University of Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Institute of Arts and Design
  • Mount Mary College
  • Sacred Heart School of Theology
  • St. Francis Seminary
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College

Library Accounts

My Library Account (TOPCAT Account)

All members of the Cardinal Stritch University community are provided with an account for accessing and borrowing library materials through TOPCAT, the library's catalog. The username and password for this account is the same as  your main Cardinal Stritch University login credentials.


Additional Library Account

The Library's interlibrary loan tool, ILLiad is not accessed through My Library Account (TOPCAT). If you choose to use this tool, you will need to create a separate account. ILLiad's username and password are separate from your main Cardinal Stritch University login credentials.

ILLiad Interlibrary loan

The ILLiad Interlibrary loan service is used when you wish to request and borrow materials not found in TOPCAT or in one of the Library's subscription resources.

Research Help

Reference Desk

Stop by the reference desk to get one-on-one help with a librarian.

Research Consultations

Need a little more in-depth research assistance?  Schedule a research consultation to meet with a librarian.


The Guides section is the place to go for all of your research and library "how-to" questions.

Faculty Services

Library Instruction

Faculty can request course specific library instruction. Contact Dyan Barbeau at to learn more.

Other Services

Learn more about our services for off-campus students, and patrons with disabilities.