Archive for the “Wired at the Library” Category

If you’ve searched for a book while in the library lately, you’ve probably noticed we have a new catalog. You can also search that same catalog from home, as well as do some other useful things such as getting a list of items you have checked out, or getting a list of what you’ve borrowed in the past. You can also find out if you have any fines or charges on your record or if you have any overdue items.

To do all this and more, visit http://catalog.ccfls.org (or visit http://meadvillelibrary.org and click the “Search Our Catalog” link or else type something into the “Search Our Catalog” search box). To access your account information, you will need to log in. The first time you log in, both your user name and password are your library card number. Once you log in we recommend you change your password for added security. Choose a memorable password—if you forget it, we are unable to tell you what it is. If you do forget it, please bring in some ID the next time you visit the library and we will change it for you. To protect your privacy we will not change the password over the phone. If you’ve just signed up for a library card, you will be able to log in to your account online by the following day.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll immediately see a list of the items you presently have checked out. If any of the items are overdue, they’ll be highlighted in pink with red due dates. In the future, you’ll be able to renew materials from here, but we still have some work to do before that feature is available.

To find out if there are any fines due on your account, click “Your Fines”. Note that fines aren’t calculated until materials are checked in at the library, so fines for any currently overdue items will not be shown.

For a list of what you’ve borrowed previously, click on “Your Reading History”.

Searching the Catalog

For a quick keyword search, just type a few search terms into the search box at the top of the page. In the menu to the left of the search box, you can also narrow your search by choosing to search by title, author, etc. For even more search options, click on Advanced Search. There you can narrow down the search by material type (say, if you’re just looking for DVDs) or choose one of the limit checkboxes to search in preselected categories like movies (which will search among videos and DVDs in both the adult & children’s collections). On the advanced search page you can also choose to limit your search results to a specific library—by the time you’re reading this we’ll probably have at least one more of the county libraries migrated to the new system. We plan to have all nine libraries in the county using it by the end of next year.

In your search results you can see which library has the items in your search results, and whether or not the items are available. If an item is presently checked out, it will be marked as “On loan”; if you click on the item’s title, you can find out when it’s due to be returned to the library. Many of the items in the search results will have cover images from Amazon.com. If you click on the title of an item, you’ll find more content from Amazon, such as reviews; for many titles you can even use Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” feature by clicking on the cover image.

If you want to save your search results, you have a few options. There’s the Book Bag, which can help you create a bibliography which you can then email or print. In your list of search results, simply click the boxes next to the call numbers of the items you want to add, and click “Add selected items to Book Bag”. Click the cart in the upper right corner of the page to view the Book Bag; from there you can print or email your list. You do not have to log in to use this feature.

Another option for saving search results is the Virtual Shelves system. You can use this to create a virtual bookshelf that you can use to organize your reading. Our librarians can also create public virtual shelves for everyone to see. To add an item to a virtual shelf, click on the item’s title in the search results, and click “Add to Your Virtual Shelf”. There you can choose to add it to one of your existing shelves or you can create a new shelf on the fly by giving it a unique name.

The Future

We’re still working on more features for the catalog, so keep an eye out for new things. We plan to give you the ability to reserve & renew materials online, and we’re working on improving search accuracy and the catalog interface. The new system is far more flexible than our old one, so we are able to offer a lot more features to improve your library experience. We’ll keep you posted!

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In October, the library’s website (http://meadvillelibrary.org) received a facelift. It still features many of the same useful resources as before, such as our Internet Resource Guide, our catalog, the POWER Library suite of research tools and more, but in a format that will allow library staff to easily post news and other timely information on the site so we can keep you, our patrons, more informed about what’s happening at the library.

Eventually each department will also have its own site, where librarians can post the latest library news, book reviews, new books and more. The sites even have RSS news feeds, which let you use live bookmarks to make it easy to keep up with what’s happening at the library—for example, if you’re using Firefox to browse our pages, click on the orange button at the bottom of the window and subscribe to the feed of your choice. This will add a bookmark that automatically shows you our latest headlines.

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