Most atlases, gazetteers, and other books can be checked out. The only exceptions are oversized books and reference materials.
Place names change. Gazetteers are reference books for place names. They include longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates on the earth with place names listed next to them.
The Getty Thesaurus of Geographical Names is a good online source for learning place names over a period of time. This is especially helpful when looking for historic maps and atlases.